"Diamond Crusade" : Subnautica Story Vol. 2



  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    edited July 2017
    I'm also wondering; if you were to assign an actor to some (or every) characters in Flagship Eclipse, who would they be. I'm genuinely curious as to what your choices would be.

    EDIT: This post started a new page. It looks like this is the only thing I posted, but there's a new Zenn chapter at the bottom of page one that I posted with this. Just so you know :)
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Ollos Silver

    Everyone on 4546b was different. We were of different shapes, sizes, colours, backgrounds. We had crashed on different ships, and all of us had made the journey here for different reasons. Some wanted fame, some sought wealth, and others just wanted to help those already stranded on this miserable ball of salt and sea. Nobody got what they came for. But there were some among us who had been bound by indestructible strings. Some among us were united with people we had never asked to be involved with, and this was all because of one underlying factor, one common denominator. Some of us were there the day the Federation failed us. We were there when fields burned, cities were soaked in blood and whole lives were torn to shreds. We were there the day an entire planet was crushed thanks to the actions of the few.

    We were there the day Obraxis Prime fell.

    The Obraxian Dream, they called it; the notion that, if you were to travel to Obraxis Prime and work your very best, you would be rewarded with riches beyond imagining. So when the Federation gained supremacy over Reap-Alpha, our homeworld, and we were forced from our own home, Obraxis Prime was our only option.

    We weren't exactly poor when we left Reap-Alpha. We owned a sizeable farm on the outskirts of Alstytsion, in the country. We made a hell of a lot of money off of our crops, but the Federation decided that they would get rid of our farm and expand Alstytsion northwards. So we scraped together all of our money, bought a five-man ship and set sail across the stars. When we made touchdown on Obraxis Prime, I was amazed at the scenery. Veins of Obraxian Steel burst from the ground like trees, and grew taller than Coryus-B's Grand Redwoods. The steel was a light blue, and they pulsed with light deep in the night. Caverns cut through the planet like open wounds, but the Obraxian Steel would fill them. We settled in one of these cuts, and bought materials from the nearby city of Husvatia required to build our farm.

    We built a wooden hut, its back to the cavern's stony wall. Inside this shed were three beds; one for myself, one for my wife Marytha, and one for my son Vaedro. We had bought picks, and had to mine the steel manually for eighty days and eighty nights, eating food we had smuggled off of Reap-Alpha the entire time. Eventually, of course, we ran out. We hauled our entire eighty-day collection of Obraxian Steel to Husvatia, and sold it for a five thousand credit profit.

    And so we bought food and two droids. The droids would carry out manual labour (which I now realise is a rather contradictory sentence) and we three would live our lives, chipping in if our drones had any issue. This continued for another year, when talk began to stir of people travelling to Obraxis Prime not just to run a business, but to be hired for one. And so it was my job to run into town and hire some hands for mining.

    As soon as I entered Husvatia I noticed change; it was ever so crowded compared to how it had been the last year and a half, and full of men wearing nothing more than rags and dirty cloths. There was also a new building under construction (the first floor was complete, but the second and third were still just a jumbled mess of scaffolding), named the W.H.C, or the Worker Hire Centre. I strode in. There was no queue to hire workers, but there were many men behind the counter who looked to be up for grabs. There was a cleaner man just in front of them, and so I spoke to him.

    "Are these men for hire?" I asked, forcing a smile.

    "Indeed they are, sir!" the man said, over-enthusiastically. He turned around and gestured at the twelve men behind him. "All of them are ready and looking for money and work. Are you here to hire?"

    "Yep," I told him. He was a small man, his chest only just reaching the lip of the counter. I was two heads taller than him, and he was as hairless as a sphynx cat. "This business is changing, wouldn't you say? My droids aren't exactly gonna cut it anymore; I'm paying a mint to keep them maintained." There was a moment of silence. "How much do they work for?"

    "I'll go down the line, shall I?" The man smiled, and became incredibly giddy.

    "No, you don't have to-"

    "This is Therys," the man said, putting a hand on the man furthest to the left's shoulder. The man was tall, taller than me, muscular, bearded and bald. He wore no smile. "Therys is an incredibly hard worker. He'll cost one hundred up front and work for thirty credits a month. Then..." he moved one down the line, "there's Almys. Almys costs seventy up front, and will work for twenty a month, but refuses to work without Finny, who's up next. Finny will cost you one hundred and twenty up front and thirty a month." The man glided past another four people, just tapping them on the shoulder and muttering "ninety twenty," for each one under his breath. These four cost the exact same as each other. Then he reached a small, skinny woman, with scruffy black hair. "Ah, this is Otta. She's been looking for a place in the Federation for years, but never found a spot. Hundred up front, twenty a month." He smiled at me. "And the rest are ninety twenty. Oh!"


    "Except..." the man glided down to the end of the line. He grabbed a scruffy man's hand. "This guy!" He held the hand up like the man had won a competition. "This man is one of my best workers. I wouldn't sell him for anything less than one fifty, and I wouldn't let him work for anything less than fifty a month. He's tough, he's strong, he's smart..."

    I looked at the man. He had been staring at the floor this entire time. "What's your name?" I asked him.

    "Go on," the man holding his hand said. "Tell our customer your name."

    The man looked up at me with blue eyes that shimmered like diamonds. "Jacob," he said, meekly. "Jacob Sand."

    I looked at the lineup. I wasn't sure who I was going to buy. I would sell the droids for roughly nine hundred before the day was done, so my decision would be based around that. And then I made it. "I'll buy 'em all," I smiled.

    "Uh- all of them?!" The man was stuck between a state of awe and amazement. "Are you sure? B-but that's-"

    "A lot of money, I know. And I'm not good at maths, so let's say I give you two thousand and you keep the change, okay?" The workers behind the man had began talking between themselves. The man stared at the two thousand credits I had slammed on the table in wonder. He grabbed all of the notes and coins and stuffed them in his pocket.

    "You heard the man!" He turned to all of his workers. "Shoo! Get outta here! You're employed now, aren't you?! Do the man proud!" The workers began to file out behind Therys, with Jacob behind them all. "Good God, sir, you just gave up the equivalent of that poor bastard's life savings," he pointed to one of the workers; Otta, I think. "Tell me; what's your name?"

    "The name's Ollos," I patted Jacob as he passed, and he shot me a quick smirk. "But don't go recommending me to any of your friends out there; these twelve should have me set for a long time."

    "Don't I know it!" the man laughed. "Have a good day, sir, and a smashing life!"

    "All the same to you!" I shouted back as I left W.H.C with my workers.

  • RecursionRecursion The cosmos Join Date: 2017-07-01 Member: 231505Members
    This is all so exciting!
  • the_marinerthe_mariner US of A Join Date: 2016-12-29 Member: 225653Members
    Damn, it's kinda sad to see Ollos being such a nice person in the past. The worst part is that you just know he's going to get a boatload of Shit He Does Not Deserve coming his way.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Barvan Grey

    A delicate breeze pushed its way over our great island's rocks and sands. There hadn't been a single drop of rain the night before. It was early in the morning; the sun had only just risen above the Aurora's dense woods, coating us in a brilliant orange. The sunlight shimmered in the glossy windows of our tall steel towers, and beamed through our observatories in thick columns. The smell of salt and sea filled the air, and drifted along the base of our turrets and mountain. Twenty subs bobbed along our western coast, as did fifty seamoths, all black with navy blue decoration.

    But it was in my best interests to get away from all that. I walked along the western beach, away from the subs, away from the buildings, away from everything Sasha had built. Of course, Island Guard were lined up down the beach, just in case... well, just in case. They were not lined up like they should have been, however. They were all talking intently by the base of the mountain, exchanging small white pebbles with each other.

    One shot me a glance. "Don't mind me," I called over to them. "I'm not doing anyone any harm, I'm just taking a walk."

    "Name?" One man quickly shoved the small white stones in his pocket and grabbed the grip of his gun. Sasha had made a mistake years ago; she had entrusted the Island Guard with deadly weapons. That's probably why their uprising was as bad as it was. Now, at my request (quite a forceful request), they were back to using their old stasis rifles and propulsion cannons.

    "Barvan Grey," I told them.

    The man seemed to sigh. "Go on, then." He got back to huddling with his fellow guards.

    I did not trust the Island Guard, not one bit. It felt as is they were always up to something sinister. They hardly ever spoke to anyone, they were incredibly strict, and half the time they weren't even around. It was all down hill for the Island Guard when Zanos was murdered. He was good, he was kind, and he received a bullet for it all (or so I hear).

    I was walking past a cave. The damp sand squelched beneath my feet. I looked into the tunnel, expecting to see nothing but blackness. I was, of course, surprised when I spied a light further down the cave. I took a step into the mountain, when a voice called out. "What are you doing out here?"

    "I could ask the same of you," I retorted. I knew the voice, of course. Although I had never known Charmon Dessy to go night diving. "What have you been doing all night?"

    "Ah, you know," he began. "Just collecting some lithium for Sasha."

    "Of course," I shook my head. "The best time to harvest lithium is in the middle of the night, everyone knows that." I heard a fin slip off a foot. Charmon was sneaky, and devilish. I respected his wit and cunning (I in fact shared these traits), but I did not praise him for it. He lived in his own world, and acted solely out of self interest. This I could not get behind.

    "Indeed," he said, sounding as if he spoke through a smile. He walked into the light, turning off his torch. He was still in his wet suit, but he carried his flippers in his left hand. There was a pouch attached to his waist.

    "And I suppose the lithium is in that bag you've got there?" I asked. He gave me a quick nod.

    "Nice and safe," He patted the white pouch. There was a rattling inside as he did. "Any word from Sasha on the whole Zenn ordeal?"

    This was the only thing we agreed on. Sasha had been ignoring Zenn's transmissions for a whole year now. Zenn had said that there was a rescue team on the moon, waiting to pick us up, but she had never believed him about that. He had also said that the Federation was keeping track of every natural resource we were using, and adding up their prices for a final fine upon our return, and Sasha failed to believe that either.

    I strolled back up the beach. The sun was higher, now, and shone yellow instead of the morning orange. I passed the gang of Island Guard on my way back. They were still crowded in a lonely corner, exchanging pebbles. Another small pile of the small, round things were sitting comfortably in the sand by their feet. I was sure they weren't there before. Then again, I could have glossed over them. I had a tendency to gloss over many obvious details back then. Still, this made me uneasy.

    I had planned to talk with Sasha later that day, with a mind to confront her about Zenn's messages. 'If what he is saying is true,' I would say, 'we need to think of ways to repay the debts we owe.' The implications behind Zenn's words were dire. The Federation would do whatever it took to collect their toll, even if it meant dissecting every one of us and selling our organs on. The Federation were hated by most who worked under them, but somehow they kept dragging unwilling workers under their wing. It was one thing almost all of us on 4546b had in common; we had all worked for the Federation. Well, all of us save those Leonard and the Lunar crew decided to pick up on their way. They had rebelled against the Federation, I seemed to recall, and had come solely to save Malla Corren and Sampson Lark; God knows why anyone would go out of their way to save those to wretched men, especially Sampson. I had the misfortune of knowing that dreadful man. The point is, Ollos was on that ship. Perhaps if Sasha had let the Eclipse survivors die here, everyone would have been better off.

    The Eclipse was the catalyst of this entire situation. No one (save perhaps Zenn. I had planned for it to be my first question for him) even knows why Sampson, Malla and Zenn decided to fly the ship here in the first place. They had implemented shielding systems to protect against the gun's blast, but even the shield could not withstand the magnetic pulse, and the Eclipse's carcass fell tot he water. That's what Sasha tells us, at least. And then Sasha bone-headedly decides to come and rescue her brother. She picked up Ollos and Seth on the way, and whatever the bastard's name was who Malla entrusted to keep this island safe with Ollos. And Sasha didn't have the initiative to tell anyone she was pregnant when the Lunar set sail, and was eventually shot down. Little Jack was lucky to have survived near drowning, and Sasha was lucky to have Malla pull her out at the last minute. Then the Federation sends Solar to come and get all of them. Of course the single-minded Corren twins had already sparked two mutinies (Ollos was leading just fine until Sasha began to out-perform him, and Malla dragged his men over to the Aurora where Seth butchered the lot). Solar was shot down, and split in two in the process, one half of the vessel landing by the Islanders, and the other half at Silver's doorstep. I landed near Ollos, but knew better than to stay with that treacherous bastard, so I swam my ass over to Sasha and her men. And the Eclipse was the beginning of all of this.

    What we should have been focusing on was preparing a rocket to leave this sorry planet, like, and god forbid he pull it off, Ollos was doing. We should have all been playing our part, but instead we were allowing ourselves to be caught up in old rivalries that didn't even make sense by that point anymore. Sasha was angry at Zenn, and god only knows why. Zenn was angry at no one, not even Ollos from the sounds of it. What? Ollos's allies butchered your leader. Ollos forced you to exile yourself, and it didn't sound like you two had a good relationship to begin with. Zenn wasn't angry at Ollos? A admirable notion, but it is hard to think that so much can be done by one to scar another, and he not feel a shred of hatred. Funnily enough, the only hatreds on this planet that made any sense were Ollos's.

    I walked briskly through automatic doors into the tallest of the island's towers. A round table sat at the heart of the bottom floor, and on it was an empty white bag. That was all that was on the table. I grinned.

    I took a firm grip of the ladder's struts, and heaved myself up, step by step, to the second, then third, then fourth and fifth floors, until I finally made it to the sixth.

    "... He won't be too aggressive about it..."

    "No please, just- Ah! Speak of the devil!" Charmon smirked at me. Sasha sat in a chair beside the transmitter. She hadn't changed much; big, grey bags under her eyes, long, matted hair. Charmon stood beside her. "I'm so glad you could make it, Barvan!"

    "Of course you are," I told him. "And I presume you've given Sasha those lithium deposit's you've collected, no?"

    Sasha turned her attention to Charmon. She had become a much more fierce woman over the fourteen years away from her son, and it showed. She gave a small grin, but it was one of disgust more than pleasure.

    "We'll discuss it at length later," Sasha sighed. Charmon still wore his signature smirk in the middle of his black-turning-grey goatee, even though he bowed his head and looked through disappointed eyes. "Charmon, may you leave us?"

    "Of course, miss," Charmon bowed and took his leave down the ladder. Sasha's forced grin disappeared.

    "Charmon tells me there's something you'd like to discuss with me, Barvan."

    I looked over at the transmitter. It was flashing red. I lent over her and she flinched. Although she had become much more fierce, she had gained a jittery nature, reacting to even the smallest things. "There's a new one," I told her. She obviously already knew, but was avoiding playing it. I pressed the button, and Zenn's voice gushed out of the speakers.

    "Sasha... This is day twenty seven. I've been trying to contact you for the past... four weeks now, and still haven't seen a reply. Remember what I told you about the debt? The one we all owe the Federation? Well, we've found something. We've found an island with thousands of litres of oil beneath..."


    "Shh," I hushed Sasha.

    "We've set up the required facilities with which to turn the oil into fuel, and we are doing so as we speak. The Federation ran out of usable fossil fuels a century ago. Litres of the stuff will sell for a mint, I'm telling you... There's a Lost River entrance just west of you, and I'm sure that place is overflowing with fossil fuels... Now I... I shouldn't be telling you about this, but... Me and Jacob have been in touch-"

    "That bastard, I knew he was-"

    "Listen to him..." I urged her.

    "The last I heard from him he was down in the Lost River. I haven't heard anything in a few days, so can you just tell him to start stashing fossil fuels just in case? Thank you. I'll try again tomorrow."

    There was a moment of silence. We both waited for the other to speak first. "How old is that message?" I eventually asked.

    Sasha looked at the transmitter. "About..." she sighed. "Three days."

    I was in shock. She had given up on checking them now, as well. "We should at least tell him about Jacob, he needs to-"

    "Why?!" Sasha snapped. "All he was ever doing was using him to get that precious fuel! I'll bet he didn't even find an island, or any oil to begin with!" Tears were beginning to form in Sasha's eyes. All I could do was stand there as she broke down. It wasn't my first rodeo. "He would have gotten Jacob to bring oil right to his feet and then he would have blasted off into space without him or us! Don't you see? He's using this debt story to make us deliver fossil fuels to him, and then he'll blast himself up and out! Trust me it will happen!" And then she began to cry. Tears pattered against the desk she lent on.

    "I'll leave you," I told her, just as she yelled for me to get out. The subject of Zenn was obviously a touchy one. I could understand this. He had sided with the people who killed her brother, and he had the scars on his shoulders to prove it. I turned away and slid back down the stairs. I could hear her weeping from two stories down. I felt almost sorry for her. I reached the bottom of the stairs to find an empty table. As I expected. I took a seat.

  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Jack Malla Corren

    "Steady on, Lytha," Yakon had his feet propped up on the dash, his hands locked in his lap. "You're coming up to shallow water, the Cyclops might get stuck. It's safer to go around these parts."

    "Taking the trip through these shallows will minimise the time it takes to reach Sasha and the Islanders." Lytha seemed more stern than usual, as did Yakon. They always seemed stern when talking to one another. I was beginning to think Lytha had picked up on Yakon's mistrust in her. Yakon hadn't liked Lytha since the first time they met. He became even more wary of her when she massacred the Silvers on the Floating Island and was even more wary still thanks to her newly-gained consciousness. "You can't just give someone omnipotence and expect them to be as sane as ever," Yakon had insisted. "It's gonna do somethin' to you."

    "Yakon?" I asked. He looked over at me. No doubt he was about to argue with Lytha, but I had put a stop to that before it had even begun. "Why didn't Sasha send an entire team, instead of just one person?"

    Yakon thought on this for a moment. "Well..." He finally said. "She didn't send anyone..." Yes she did, I told myself. She sent you, that's something. Yakon had a tendency to think less of himself than was warranted. "But," he continued, "let me tell you about Jacob Sand..."

    "I've heard of him," I said. Ollos had told me about him. He had said that he was one of the world's best engineers until someone man betrayed him and whisked Jacob and himself away to the Islanders.

    "I'm sure you have. Well, me and Jacob used to be Silvers. I decided that Ollos and his ways weren't for me, as did Jacob Sand. So I spat right on Ollos's boots, got in a moth with Jacob and sailed right on over to the Islanders." Yakon smiled. He and Jacob obviously had some good memories. "I haven't seen him in years... All I'm saying is, I'm qualified for this kind of stuff, and I'm especially qualified for working on my own; I've been at it for six years."

    I was getting tired of this. Something clearly happened a long time ago, and I wanted to know what. Yakon casually referenced it like I already knew what happened, and I had had enough. "Just tell me. Tell me what happened all those six years go."

    "Bad timing," Yakon said immediately. "Bad timing happened six years ago. The Island Guard had never liked Sasha, I'm inclined to believe they still don't. They had been preparing for an uprising for years at that point. They had been crafting weaponry that shouldn't even be allowed; after the workers rioted on Obraxis Prime, fabricators have been banned from containing recipes for lethal weaponry. They made it anyway, somehow. Too bad the day they decided to rebel was the same day Seth and his army washed up."

    "Who's Seth?" I asked.

    "You don't know who Seth is? You, of all people?"


    "Ollos never told you about him? Never?!"


    "Do you at least know what the Carar is?"

    "I heard Ollos talk about it once or twice, but he never explained it."

    "Well, I don't think I'm the right person to explain all that to you, Jack. It's a lot to take in, especially if you've never heard about it before. I'm sure your mother will tell you as soon as we arrive." Yakon fell silent again.

    "Well, aren't you going to tell em what happened?!" I was growing angry. Yakon had kept enough from me.

    "Well, needless to say, there was a tremendous battle with three sides. Seth had the numbers, Sasha had the willpower and the Island Guard had the weaponry. The Island is a small place, Jack; not a ground for war. Seth's army surrounded the Island, Sasha took the surface, and the Island Guard scurried underground. Little did anyone know, and god knows why they didn't, those same caves lead to the ocean. The Siege, we called those ten dark days. On the eleventh day, Seth discovered those cave entrances. He sent his armies flooding in, and they butchered the Island Guard where they stood, staining the caves red."

    "Well..." I sighed. "How did my mother fight that?"

    "She found the Carar's weakness," Yakon smiled. "Within ancient structures on the Island are crystals comprised of pure energy. This energy is called the Ion. From this energy she made grenades, weaponry, all of it. We pushed the Carar back and sent Seth scurrying back to the Aurora. The New Island Guard has two main focuses; to protect against the Carar, and to make sure no one enters the caves beneath the island. The Carar still lingers down there, as do the skeletons of the old Island Guard." Yakon looked at me more seriously now. "They're going to return, Jack, and Ollos has to die before they do. I reckon you'll have a part to play in the wars to come."
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Barvan Grey

    It was no secret that Charmon had placed spies amidst Ollos's ranks. He had, in fact, bragged about it (albeit in private) on occasion. He was the reason us Islanders knew about the Gantry 2.0 in the first place, and this was, I like to believe, the only reason Sasha hadn't yet gutted him. He was a slimy man. His spies were being paid with money Charmon couldn't afford to give, especially after the Federation fines us all upon our return. Sometimes I wondered if it would be so bad to be left here to live out our lives. If we found a way to kill the Carar, would we need to go home? But we couldn't think about wiping out the Carar until Ollos was dead. If we destroyed the Carar, then what was stopping Ollos from sailing to the Aurora and finding the parts he was missing? No, he had to die.

    And what bad fortune it was that as soon as Sasha made plans to strike Charmon's spies fell silent. Killed? Discovered? Who knew.

    Fortunately, I had some men of my own plotting against Silver. They didn't seem to want money; all they wanted was to go to the Floating Island as soon as was possible. The last I had heard from them was that Yakon had arrived on the island, and that he had been taken hostage and killed. Valiant of a deserter to try and win back Sasha's trust by saving her son. He had always begged Corren for the opportunity. Or perhaps he had tried to kill Jack, or maybe even kill Ollos. Yakon wasn't so stupid as to try and assassinate Ollos himself, was he?

    It was in my best interests to contact my spies and learn of Yakon's intentions. All devices on the Floating Island were rigged to a singular net, which my spies had given my transmitter access to (a transmitter that had taken days to make, and months to keep secret, as the Island Guard regulate all construction on the island). They called the network Lytha, and insisted that Jack Stamford had programmed it. This made sense. I knew Jack. He had joined Lunar, which I found difficult to forgive. Now he was with Zenn. He was a smart guy, and good with computers.

    I tuned in to Lytha. "Giles, Ulman, it's me Barvan Grey. Code word: Aurora Falls. Giles, Ulman, do you copy?"

    "Who is this?" an unfamiliar voice asked. This wasn't good; had a Silver picked up the call? Why had the call gone to this woman, and not Giles or Ulman? I had entered myself into their pocket of Lytha (or that's how they described the process to me). "Why are you trying to contact Giles Mannis and Ulman Sturn? You are aware they are both dead, yes?"

    "Dead?!" I cried. How could they have been so careless? I realised that I had lost my cool. It would soon become obvious who I was. I was just lucky that this woman hadn't picked up on my name. "How did they die? Who is this?!"

    "Well, I presume they're dead," the woman said. "I killed a lot of people on that island." She can't have been a silver, then...

    "Are you one of Charmon's?" I asked.Or perhaps this woman had killed Charmon's men, and that's why they had become oddly silent as of late.

    "Who the hell is Charmon?" the woman laughed.

    "If not one of his, who are you?!" My patience had been lost long ago. This woman wasn't giving me any answers. All she could be was a Silver rebel. If not, then who? Not one of Sasha's. Perhaps one of those thirty deserters Yakon took with him when he left during the Siege. "I demand to know your name, and who you fight for!"

    "I fight for Jack Malla Corren," the woman said. "And Yakon Barren." I knew it. She worked for Yakon. Yakon Barren had fled the Siege with no less than thirty men and women behind him. I couldn't remember their faces, I couldn't remember their names, but I sure as hell knew where abouts their loyalties would lie. "They're in a Cyclops, and we're headed for Sasha Corren right now."

    "You've got Jack, have you?" Yakon must have ordered his capture for a reason. Perhaps he was a bargaining chip. He knew how desperate Sasha was to see his boy again, so he'd use Jack to get whatever he wanted. And this woman was just one of his lackies, who had somehow stumbled upon the Lytha net. She probably looted it from either Giles or Ulman, and took it around as a token. She admitted to killing many Silvers, and that my spies were most likely dead. It would explain a lot. "Tell me your name."

    "I'm sorry, but Jack told me that I am not to disclose that information, especially to someone I don't know. I don't know you."

    "Bullshit." I would be damned if Jack had told her anything. The boy probably had his mouth tied shut. "I'm Barvan Grey, now who are you?!"

    "I shan't say," she finally said. She had broken me. I hung up. Apparently Yakon and his pirates were sailing over to use Jack as a bargaining tool to get whatever they wanted. And God knows what would happen to us if we didn't comply. I had stumbled upon this information by accident, and it was very valuable information. If Yakon were bringing Jack over as a delivery rather than a token, then surely he would have called forward. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that we were ready for an attack.


    That next morning, as soon as Sasha woke, I called a meeting. She, Charmon and Olfir (the Leader of the Island Guard) all attended. Sasha sat down eagerly. Not much happened during her days, so when I told her I had stumbled upon something important she was over the moon. Charmon and Olfir entered the observatory shoulder to shoulder, discussing something beneath their breath. They took a seat next to each other at the round table in the observatory (slightly smaller than that in the room behind, ready to accommodate four and no more).

    "Thank you all for coming," I smiled. I stood behind my chair, my back to the glass, my hands leaning on my chair's spine. "As you all know, during the Siege-" Sasha's smile began to disappear, and Commander Olfir shuffled in his seat (the Siege was a touchy subject for the Island Guard), "- Yakon was able to slip away, with two Cyclops, four moths and thirty good men and women."

    "A painful betrayal," Olfir sighed.

    "It was an embarrassment," Sasha said through stern lips. "I put my undying trust in that man, and he broke that trust."

    "Indeed. Well, I have reason to believe that he is returning. I have reason to believe that he mounted an attack on the Floating Island, and he took Jack Malla Corren from Ollos's grasp."

    There was silence. "Well," Sasha smiled, "that's good, right? My baby boy is coming home."

    "Not necessarily," Commander Olfir didn't look too pleased. "Yakon could be returning with malicious intent. He could be using the child as a offering, trying to get what he wants from you."

    "My thoughts exactly," I nodded. Sasha's smile had completely faded.

    Charmon just looked confused. "How did you find all this out?" he asked. Everyone turned to me, with wonder in their eyes. A fair question, I thought to myself.

    "You all forget my sources amongst the Silvers," I told them. I would be locked up if Olfir found out about my unlicensed transmitter. "Giles and Ulman have proven reliable once again."

    "I shall prepare the Island Guard," Olfir stood. "We will defend this island if it kills us." Olfir left the room. Sasha followed close behind him. "Stay strong," I called to her. "We'll get your son back, I promise."

    Charmon stood up, still looking rather baffled. "Why didn't I hear anything?" he frowned, pointing to his chest. "I have spies amongst the Silvers as well, of course. Surely they would have told me something about the attack, or Jack, or anything. I mean, I practically-"

    "Our spies are dead, Charmon," I said without thinking. We stood there for a minute, both expressionless. Then he smiled, and I slid past him and left.
  • FalsonePlaysFalsonePlays Nauxes Join Date: 2017-05-27 Member: 230791Members
    Jamezorg wrote: »
    Barvan Grey

    I tuned in to Lytha. "Giles, Ulman, it's me Barvan Grey. Code word: Aurora Falls. Giles, Ulman, do you copy?"

    I see a Bugzapper reference on the horizon!!!
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Ollos Silver

    Our business was thriving on Obraxis Prime. Our men were busy mining Obraxian Steel, and we were rolling in profit from the near-priceless metal. We made sure that a lot of this money went to our workers, too. Our Obraxian Steel was shipped to other worlds, so it took a long time for the money to find its way back to us, but we coped in the meantime. We would trade ores for food and water when money was low, and these were the days when Vaedro, Marytha, I and all our workers felt most like a family. We would eat at the same table, and drink from the same well, and watch the same television. These were the days when the Obraxian Dream became a reality for us. This was the life the Federation had taken away from us back home.

    When five thousand credits came knocking at our door, we had the idea of expanding our operations. We had enough money to repurchase the droids I had sold, and use them to broaden our horizons down the valley. So I went into town, bought my droids back (which, sadly, hadn't even sold yet) and my son went through with some programming that would make them go off to mine.

    I followed them out through the forest of Obraxian Steel turrets the first day they left, just to see how they could cope. They behaved fine, but together we discovered something that's implications were not known to us yet.

    I found another workplace on that trip. It was a hut, slightly bigger than ours. Two men and a woman worked there, along with five other men I presumed to be workers. I slipped away before these people saw me, and brought the droids with me. I ran at a brisk pace back to my own hut. Jacob Sand saw me sneak out of the jungle of Obraxian Steel. He wiped his brow and looked over to me. "What's up, boss?" he asked, out of breath.

    "I found other people," I told him.

    "Oh yea?" Therys overheard. "Where are they?"

    "I don't know, but they're somewhere out there." I looked back, and swept my fingers across the horizon, as if I were stroking the distance.

    "Did you talk to them?" Jacob smiled. "You could make some business with these people."

    "I didn't talk to them, no."

    "Well, go on!" Jacob encouraged. "Bring the boy, too, and your wife."

    "You think I'd get more money from it?" I wasn't too convinced.

    "It couldn't hurt to try," Jacob shrugged.

    "As long as I start getting more money for mining the same bit of Obraxian Ore over and over, I should be fine," Therys sighed. "It takes this stuff five nights to grow back, Ollos. It takes me five days to mine the damn stuff. Not the most exciting job, I'd wager."

    "I'm sorry," I told Therys, with as best a smile I could offer. I saw Finny behind him, his eyes boring through me, with unyielding seriousness. "I know it's not that exciting."

    Therys grunted, and continued to mine, as did Finny. I convinced my son and wife the next day that we should visit these other people. They were in the same valley as us; we were destined to be partners, I told them. And so Vaedro packed the essentials (I told them I'd no idea how long we'd be gone), I left Jacob in charge and we made our way out to greet our neighbours. We scoured the valley, trying to find them once again. We looked in ditches, crevasses, up hills and rises, and eventually we found them, tucked by the cliff at the opposite end of the valley.

    As soon as we emerged from the undergrowth of Obraxian steel, one of the workers saw us. "Boss," he called into the wooden hut. "Boss!" he called again, more urgently. Eventually the man I had seen walked out of the house. He had dark brown, verging on black, hair. His clothes were rather fashionable. His hands were ridden with dirt, and he saw us three almost instantly, and shot a smile our way. I gave him one back.

    "Hello!" He called, as a woman stepped out of the hut after him. I didn't pay her much attention. The man walked over to us and held his hand out to me. "It's so nice to see someone else out here," the man voiced my very own thoughts. His eyes were a dark green. "What're your names?" The woman began to walk over to us. She greeted us as she grew close, and it was only now did I notice how beautiful she was. Her hair was long, and the same dark brown as the man's, and her eyes were his same dark green. I was instantly stricken with love. No, I told myself firmly. Marytha's right here.

    "I'm Vaedro," my son said. "That's my mum Marytha, and this is my dad Ollos."

    "Hi," the man let my hand go. I was still entranced with the woman's beauty. "What are your names?"

    "Well," the man began. "I'm Malla Corren. This is my sister, Sasha, and her fiance is inside."

    "Probably watching television," Sasha smiled. Her face was astoundingly pretty. "He's been working all day, he deserves some rest."

    "He sounds great," I told them, with a smile.

    "He is pretty great. I've known him for some time now. Him and we have been trying to find a place in the Federation for ages now. We've got no other way than to make money than by working here, it would seem. So, how are things with you, then?"

    It would be a bit odd to say that the Federation took away our livelihoods to those who wanted to join up, so I simply said: "We ran into hard times. There was no way forward but to come here."

    Suddenly, the second man stumbled out of the hut. He looked at the worker who had called Malla out; he was still watching the conversation. "Get back to work, will ya?" the man spat. "We don't pay you to stand around watching us all day, do we?"

    "No, sir." the worker got back on with what he was doing.

    "Sasha, can you come here?" the man beckoned Sasha over, and she went.

    Malla waited until Sasha was out of earshot. He leaned into us. "I don't think Sasha likes Sampson too much, do you?"

    "No, not at all," Vaedro shook his head.

  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    edited August 2017
    Barvan Grey

    Eight days and nights had come and gone since I had discovered the truth behind Jack Corren's whereabouts. Yakon had him, and he intended to use him to further his own agenda. He would use Sasha's love of her son to his advantage, I was sure. Yakon had once been a man of duty, and honour, but he and his band of deserters had become nothing more than a gang of pirates and scavengers. And somehow they had mounted a crippling attack on the Floating Island. God knows how they were able to pull off such a feat with what little weaponry they had at their disposal.

    Men and women ran up and down the beaches. The Island Guard were lined along the southern shore. I strode briskly from the Tall Tower, and made my way along the beach, through the tides of rushing people. Charmon was standing in the heart of all the commotion, looking around for something.

    "Charmon!" I called. He turned his head.

    "Barvan!" He replied. He smiled, but I could see through that sorry mask and study his true feelings. Disgustingly, I saw pride. "Excited for the siege?"

    "Please," I scoffed. "One siege is enough for a lifetime."

    "Indeed," Charmon wiped his nose. The wind was strong, and was making everybody's eyes and noses run and water. "But I suppose you would of course fear sieges when your first was as terrifying as it was. Mutants all around? Island Guard in the tunnels? I'd take Yakon over Seth and his hordes of zombies any day."

    "Not just Yakon," I reminded him. "Him and his entire gang."

    "Yes, quite..." Charmon seemed unconcerned, as if he hadn't listened to my words. "We've won this battle," he went on to say. I thought this observation strange. You haven't seen his force, I thought. How could you make such an inference? "We outnumber him... three to one? He had thirty with him, you said?"

    "Yes," I sighed. I needed to leave. I had planned to try and enter the Lytha system one final time, to see if I could directly communicate with that woman on the other end once more, or perhaps even Yakon himself. "I'd best be off now, Charmon."

    Charmon's smile began to crumble and wear. Now it looked abnormally forced. "I'll see you in a little while, I expect." Charmon took his leave southwards. I started towards my own tower (the third tallest of the whole five). Men poured out in their twos or threes every minute or so, with guns in hand. I walked to the door and stood outside for several minutes (perhaps even half or three quarters of the whole hour) and waited for all the men to leave. When no one had ran out from the building in a while, I slipped in. I climbed the ladder four floors upwards and sat myself in front of the transmitter. There was no other choice. I needed to contact Zenn. Jacob Sand had been in cahoots with Zenn for an incredibly long time, and Jacob had been in cahoots with me. I hadn't heard from him in an incredibly long time. I had to assume he was dead, and I needed to tell Zenn. I also needed to tell him of Yakon's coming. Ollos was weakened from Yakon's attack, but I presumed not too much. He would strike all too soon. Zenn had to come south.

    I booted up the transmitter, and it came to life with a loud beep. Then I searched for the frequency. I had no idea what it would be. I remembered Jacob telling me something about it, but I couldn't remember at all what. Then there was a faint noise from the base of the tower, four stories down.

    "Where is he?" I heard a voice say.

    "I don't know," This second voice was familiar, and it took me two seconds to realise who it was. "Just make your way up the tower until you find him." I instantly turned the transmitter off, and tried to rip it off the wall. I dug my fingers behind it and pulled, but it wouldn't break away. I heaved as hard as I could, and heard a click, but there was only slight movement. I heard the rungs of the ladder thud as hands and feet grabbed and pulled themselves upwards, and there was nothing to do. I left the transmitter and slid under my slim bed. No doubt they'd see me under there.

    Commander Olfir strode into the room, presence radiation off of him, flanked by three of the Island Guard. "There it is," Olfir pointed at the transmitter. "He promised, didn't he? Grab it." All I could do was look on as two of the Island Guard walked forward, sent a club of steel into the front of the transmitter, and ripped the machine from the wall. This was disastrous. Without my secret transmitter, all calls I'd make would be regulated by Sasha and Olfir, as it was always intended to be. This meant no more contacting my agents, my spies, Zenn...

    "Where's is that treacherous schemer, anyway?" the guard still behind Olfir looked around, confused. Treacherous, eh? I thought. I'm doing what's best for Sasha and the people, what are you lot up to?

    Olfir looked around the room. He scanned the entire area, and that was when we made eye contact. He laughed. "Many amongst the Island Guard call you cowardly and craven." Olfir grabbed the lip of the bed and flipped it over onto its back. "You lack honour, you lack bravery. You get others to further your own agenda, and do your own dirty work for you."

    Two of the Island Guard rushed over and picked me up by the arms. "That's rich coming from the Island Guard!" I retorted. "All you do is fight for other people! You fight in Sasha's name, and I assume there's someone else at the helm of this attack." Olfir's face crawled. I smiled.

    "A clever craven," One of the Island Guard growled; the one clawing at my right arm. He looked down at the transmitter's carcass. "Let's see how you manage to contact your precious agents from a little cell, shall we?"

    "Oh, it won't be too hard," Olfir grinned. "Not once they're locked in there with you."

    And I was promptly escorted down four stories and to the ground floor, where they dragged me outside. Much of the remaining Island Guard followed close behind Olfir. People stopped to stare as I was heaved up the beaches. Charmon ran over with urgency in his step.

    "What happened?" he asked. I glared at him.

    "Out the way, Charmon!" one Island Guard sneered. I knew this one's name; Chyle, I think it was. I rather liked him. Charmon shot Chyle a gruesome look, and the Island Guardsman's confidence turned to fear and regret in an instant. He walked looking at the sand the rest of the way up the beach.

    We reached an entrance to the caves. It was the same entrance I had found Charmon drying off that one night, with his lithium. There was already a black steel cage hanging from the roof of the cage, ready for me. When did they find the time to put that thing up? I contemplated.

    "When will I be released?" I asked. Olfir had been given a propulsion cannon, and was readying it to raise me into the cage. He looked down and sighed.

    "Whenever higher authorities deem it suitable," Olfir replied.

    "And who are higher authorities?" I questioned. He remained strangely silent on the matter. When he activated the propulsion cannon and began to raise me upward, my skin felt strangely tingly. I was raised a good five feet before the accent ended. I thought that he'd set me into the cage gently, but I wasn't warned about what came next. He tightened his grip on the cannon, and at full speed shot me into my cell. My back collided with the bars, and alongside the normal clang of metal came a painful cracking sound, and a tremendous sting shooting through my back. The cage rocked backwards and I was sure I would fall forwards and out of the open gate, but it somehow swung closed and locked itself. Olfir closing it, I suspect. There was not enough space for me to stand up nor lay down straight in the cage. I would have thought the threat about throwing my agents in the cage with me was to scare me, but higher authorities might have actually been crazy enough to follow through with it.

    The cage eventually stopped swinging. Nine of the Island Guard stood in front of me, Olfir at their helm. I looked him dead in the eyes. "I'm not angry that you destroyed the transmitter," I told him. I shouldn't have been, either, it was the law of the Island and they were law keepers. I expected nothing more upon their discovery of the transmitter. "I'm just angry that you're doing this for the wrong people, whoever higher authorities may be."

    Olfir shrugged, a grin on his face. "Born to serve, Barvan. Born to serve."
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Jack Malla Corren

    The Cyclops was still. I sat at her controls, my arms by my sides, leaning int the chair, the hull creaking around me. We were deep. Lytha had taken Yakon's advice, and had found an alternative route. Apparently the reef was just too shallow. We had followed the red grasses around the shallows, and had found a small opening in the sea floor, which didn't seem to end. Yakon began to behave strangely as we came close to it. He insisted that the tunnel held importance, but I didn't see any in it. It's just a hole, I had thought to myself. Yakon demanded that we search the cave, but Lytha told him that the entrance was too small for the Cyclops, and that the P.R.A.W.N would most certainly fit. Yakon had told me to stay, and stay I did as he slipped into the P.R.A.W.N and took the plunge into the depths.

    I took it upon myself to scan the area, to see if there was anything of importance down there. I fiddled with the controls flicking levers up, down and sideways, pushing buttons and toggling sliders. "You'll have to give a range," Lytha told me. "I'm afraid the strain Yakon's been putting on the engines has drained power from some of the controls." This was odd. I had no idea Yakon was even straining the engines, as we were moving so slowly. By my count, it had taken eight days for us to even get here since leaving the Grand Reef. It didn't matter, though. With Lytha about, not much mattered when it came to tech.

    "Set range to four hundred feet," I said. A holographic map projected from the console; a 3D view of the entire area, from surface to the cave below. There was a mass of titanium and glass slowly descending through the entrance in the ceiling (Yakon, I expected), and, further down, was a larger mass of titanium. But there was, along the very floor of the cave, a veritable graveyard of titanium. If I stuck my head incredibly close, I could make out the tiny little shapes of P.R.A.W.N suits, Cyclops and Seamoth. There were even small bases strewn amongst the wreckage. Yakon never spoke of this place, though he had deemed it important enough to investigate himself. This was odd, considering how many stories he liked to tell about himself. He bragged about his many aliases (Therys Wilder, Craig McGill, Sam Wavyn, just to name a few off the top of my head) and all he had achieved and conquered. Why not talk about this?

    And then my mind strayed. Six years, I thought. How does Yakon know my mother hasn't changed? Last time he saw her was at the Siege, right? Well, that surely would have affected her somewhat. It was something to think about. And a thought that I'd rather share than keep to myself. "What do you think my mother will be like when we return?" I asked Lytha.

    "Eager to kill Ollos," Lytha replied. "He took you from her, if Yakon's stories prove accurate. He wiped out some very important players in the game. He murdered Zanos Millen, the Commander of the Island Guard back then. Yakon speaks highly of him, wouldn't you agree?" I nodded. "There was Ovel... He speaks less highly of him. Traitor, Yakon called him. In spirit, Ollos murdered your uncle, too."

    What? I thought. "My uncle?"

    "Malla Corren," she said. "He ventured to the Aurora with his closest allies to salvage rockets for a shuttle. There was a conspiracy, which eventually turned into a massacre. Seth turned Zenn and others against Malla and his men, and where there had been three Eclipse survivors before the massacre, after there was only one." This wasn't how I had heard it at all. "Back then, Eclipse survivors were held with utmost esteem. They were incredibly important, Jack, too important for words. So when one betrayed the other, there was little room for anything besides war for everyone else. By Ollos's records, their names were Otta, Tary, Malla, Sampson, Penna and Zenn. By the time your mother arrived, there were only three left: Malla, Penna and Zenn."

    "And now there's hundreds of us..." This version of the tale made so much more sense than what Ollos had fed me. But Malla was my uncle? And why was I only learning about this Seth now? "But Ollos didn't tell it to me like that..."

    "How did he tell it?" Lytha asked.

    "He said that... Well, first off... Malla's my uncle?"

    "Yes," Lytha said. "He was Sasha's brother. Sasha is your mother, so this makes Malla your uncle."

    "Malla Corren..." I liked the sound of that better than Malla the Traitor. Ollos couldn't have though of a more childish name. "Malla Corren brought lots of people over to the Aurroa, like you said, and then Zenn killed them all. Single-handed."

    Lytha laughed. "If only that were possible, Jack."

    I wasn't finished. "Ollos said that Malla wielded a diamond knife, that glistened in the sun's light, as if the dagger were aflame. He said that Malla had planned to kill Ollos and his friend Sellan upon his return. Sasha, my mother, was already assuming control over the Island, he told me. He said that there would have been a slaughter unlike anything the galaxy had ever seen. He said that it was Malla's master plan, and that he had called him and all who followed the Diamond Crusade. The Diamond Crusade, Ollos said, was the master plan to rid the world of everyone who didn't follow Malla's master plan. If Zenn hadn't killed Malla first, taken the knife and given Ollos the chance to escape, he would be dead."

    "Too bad none of that's true," Lytha sighed.

    "I'm going to make it true," I grinned. "I'll further my uncle's Diamond Crusade. I'd follow him any day."

    There was a minute of silence. "Well..." Lytha stumbled on her words. I was worried she was malfunctioning. "That is, if you get the chance..."

    "What do you mean?!" I laughed. "Of course I'll get a chance! I'm going home!"

    "There's someone out there," Lytha said, more seriously than ever before, "who would see Yakon killed. I spoke with him. He somehow tuned into my frequency and we had a conversation. He believes Yakon has his thirty men behind him."

    I was fuming. "Why haven't you told either of us this?" I commanded. "Why haven't we heard about this?!"

    "I didn't think it was important." Lytha defended. A terrible defence.

    "There was no reason for you not to tell us, Lytha. We've been sailing the seas in silence for weeks, and you never thought to bring it up." I stood up. I had to tell Yakon. Either this man was with Zenn or Sasha (Ollos knew we didn't have thirty men). If he was with Zenn, perfect. If he was with Sasha, we were doomed. As I left the captain's quarters I gave the doorway a brisk kick. It stung my toes, but I dare not show it. The pain felt good to me, in fact. It took from my anger a slight bit. I walked quickly towards the hatch in the bottom of the sub, where the P.R.A.W.N was usually stored. I twisted the hatch, pulled, and it began to swung open. I began to slowly open the hatch, before it suddenly snapped close. "Lytha!"

    "I can't let you tell Yakon," Lytha began to twist the hatch shut, but I grabbed on. She was powerful, but so was I. I stopped the hatch, and surprisingly began to twist it the other way. The whirr of the engine stopped, and the lights around me began to flicker.

    Suddenly I felt light headed. Lytha was pulling the hatch harder than me, and for some reason I was letting her win. But something strange happened to me then. I heard a voice deep in my subconscious. It was there, somewhere in my head, but I hadn't a clue where. "Twist," the voice said, ever so calmly. "You can do this. You can save your friend. Just twist."

    Lytha's force began to feel like nothing compared to mine. I twisted with all my might, and the hatch began to unlock again. "Yakon really has been draining your power, hasn't he?!" I taunted. Lytha groaned (I hadn't a clue why an AI would need to groan when exerting force, although I assume an AI exerting electrical force would be equivalent to a human exerting muscular force), but it was no use. I pried the hatch open, and slipped in. With a clunk, I landed on the cold, steel floor of the bottom layer of the sub. I looked around, and saw a line of lockers. "Can't reach me down here, can you?!" I laughed. I opened a locker, and another, and another, and finally I found what I was looking for; a propulsion cannon. I looked through a couple moor and found myself a scuba mask and oxygen tank. "It's over, Lytha. Open these doors, let me out and this will all be over."

    "You can't tell Yakon," she said sternly. "And I'm not opening those doors. I'm setting engine speed to maximum and I'm taking you home."

    I slid on my scuba gear and readied the propulsion cannon. I aimed it at the floor, where both lips of the door met beneath me; where the doors were weakest. "You're not opening these doors?" I smiled. "I am." I fired the propulsion cannon. The water was cooler than I had expected. The doors beneath me had opened, and I had fallen into the sea. I felt the water press against my head, and my ears pop loudly in my head. I looked upwards. The sub was a shadow looming a few feet above me. Lytha had stopped the engines, and was closing the doors. She had lost, and now had to pay the price. Now I looked downards, to my next objective.

    "Good," the voice in my head congratulated. "Very good..."
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Jacob Sand

    The deep sea was a peculiar place, to say the very least. As far as I knew the crew of Hydra and I were the first to traverse these immeasurable depths. The water was hot where ever you swam; I'd have burned instantly if not for the Ion my heart pumped round my body. The Ion was giving me power, it was keeping me going. I could breathe under the water now, without a sluggish tank full of air. I could swim without having my head crushed like a melon under the pressure of the water around me. I could survive in the boiling heat, without feeling so much as a burn, and I could see years past as if they were a memory of yesterday's supper. Whatever the Ion had seen, I could see. If this wasn't what true power was, I hadn't a clue where else to look for it.

    But I hadn't been granted this gift just to bask in its wonder. It had given me a task. The Ion had had an enemy since the Precursors first landed on this bleak abyssal planet, and it was an enemy that I, and the world above, all shared. The Carar was deadly, and it was gaining strength by the day. The Eclipse, Lunar and Solar vessels had brought to the planet men and women enough for the Carar to form an army of the dead. While those up there had children, they were fuelling the Carar's endless army. And Ollos Silver was kind enough to supply the Carar a ship to travel off-world. There was only one way to eliminate this chaos before it was allowed to begin, and the Ion had shown me the way.

    I stood before the Precursor's power generator. The room vibrated around me, and the engine whirred away. If there was any way I was going to contact the world above, it would be here. I didn't feel the need to right that second, but it was good to know I could.

    An enormous roar sounded from the outside, and caused the facility to shudder vigorously. "All right, all right..." It was a wonder I had evaded the dragon in the first place. I hadn't even seen the monster on my way in. I held a small Precursor gadget in my hand. I had found it in the Lost River facility, and convinced drones in this base to repair it (the technology was unfamiliar to me). I dug the gadget into the engine, and the machine droned more chaotically than ever. The green electricity that openly stretched from pylon to pylon shone brighter and brighter, and eventually the brightening halted, leaving the electricity as white-green as it could be. The movement of the electricity was no longer visible behind the piercing rays of vicious white. I strained my eyes and turned my head away. I heard its whispers in my head, and saw visions in my mind. Precursors roamed these halls, many eons ago. They sought the same goals as I. They were a generation fighting to stop the Carar, and I was the flagship of the next.

    I left the facility. I had given the generator enough power for me to send a signal kilometres upwards without much hassle. I made my way through narrow caves, around tight corners, and was eventually greeted again to the ashen wasteland of the deep. The dragon roared once more. It was very, very close. I looked about myself, and saw nothing. I swam forwards, leaving the castle behind me. An opening to regions even deeper than this was true forwards. Knowing that the dragon was nearby, I swam as quickly as my body would allow. I kicked and kicked, and crawled and crawled, but this was all apparently no good. There was a growl behind me, and a third deafening cry. I looked over my shoulder. The dragon sat atop the castle, its tentacles sliding down its sides, wrapping themselves around black spikes jutting from the castle's roof. It's human-like hands grabbed these same spikes, and its four terrible eyes were locked on me. They shone orange; a bright orange, visible from so far away.

    "Well bugger me," I cursed as the monster pushed itself from the castle and lunged forward towards me. It glided through the water like a... well, like a dragon. It would be on me in seconds. There was no way I would escape it. The dragon came to a dead halt right above me. It looked me in the eyes. Its mouth opened as far as a door could swing, and deep down its throat there was a fiery orange glow. I tried to swim away, but wherever I went the dragon tracked me. It fired an enormous ball of molten rock from its gaping jaws. The blunt force of the projectile carried me metres downwards, and I heard and felt my left shoulder break from its joint. Three teeth floated from my mouth. The rock slowed, and sunk to the sea floor, leaving my bones broken and my body aching.

    The dragon lunged at me, ready to swallow me whole. But, quite out of nowhere, a flash of speeding white and blue and black rammed into the dragon's side. The monster reeled back and gave a long, sorrowful roar. Blood spewed from it shoulder, where the object had struck. I saw it then; it was a Seamoth. The dragon left, and the man in the moth had me stuffed behind the seat for easy travel. The man was black of hair, blue of eye and missing some too many teeth.

    And then he brought me to this place. The Primary Containment Facility, I knew it to be called. I had seen it years passed, when the Precursors still roamed its gaping halls. It had aged rather well. I was standing at its entrance, with the man who had saved me. I still looked back on that hour previous's events. The Ion gave me vivid memory, it was like it was real. I could millennia into the past, and there were whisperings that I could also see the future. I needed to train myself for that. Whatever the Ion saw, I saw, it had told me. The man spoke to me, but I couldn't listen. How could I focus on the present when there was so much of the past to explore? I could see the Precursor's empire when it was just of one planet, I could see it when spanned ten thousand. And I watched it fall, planet by planet, to the Carar. Why were the events of the past hour so perplexing to me? Perhaps I hadn't known that a seamoth could do so much damage to a dragon? Perhaps there was something strange regarding the dragon? There was something about the events that just seemed wrong. I would have to look over them again another time. There were things in the present I needed to know.

    "Who are you?" I asked the man escorting me up the entrance ramp. He seemed kind enough. It was strange that I had no vision of this man in a place like this, however. I would ask him about that, too. "Why is there no Ion energy here?"

    "I have to tell you again, do I?" The man sighed. "If I must... But if you ask me again I'll hit you in the face hard as I can." I nodded. "My name's Kasseran and I'm here with seven others. We came here after Seth slaughtered Malla's men at the Aurora. One of our number died in the Ion, so we cut off that power and started using our own." I remembered that. He was a man with black hair and green eyes. Those here knew that man by two names. He fell into an exposed Ion flow, and got himself killed.

    I was so lucky to have been brought to this place. It held exactly what I needed. "Can you take me to the artefacts?" I asked the man. He still hadn't told me his name.

    "How the hell do you-... You're a strange man , ain't you? I can take you there sure enough, but you have to tell me your name first."

    "My name is Jacob Sand." I told him. "What's your name?"

    I heard the man grumble. I wasn't sure why. "I'll take you to the relics and introduce you to everyone else."

    "Thank you." Suddenly I received a vision. The Ion spoke to me. They will rise and die, rise and die, rise and die. I needed to reach the artefacts. Rise and die, rise and die, rise and die. The dead will rise and die and rise again. There was an artefact there that would save the entire universe from Carar corruption. Rise, rise, die, rise, die die, rise die, rise die, die rise. It would save the Federation, and countless planets. You, Jacob, will die and rise. The mother and son will die and rise. The madman will die and rise. The Diamond Blade has died and will rise. The northman will die and rise. The northman's love, the Blade's nightmare, the betrayer, the madman's partner, they all are ready to rise.

    I saw it. Encased in glass like that, I saw it. A small red-pink ball. Blue light shone from its centre. I put my hand on the glass. "Careful, Jacob," a man behind me advised. "You don't want to go touching that. It has enough energy to destroy a planet, our scanner tells us. It's malfunctioned though."

    "Did your scanner tell you that as well?" I asked. I broke the glass with my elbow. I felt someone grab my arm, but I threw them off with relative ease. I grabbed the relic and shoved it in my pocket. "Just let me have this!" I told the four men clawing at me to get it back.

    And then the Ion left me. In an instant it was gone. I fell to my knees in less than an instant, and the relic rolled along the floor in front of me. My eyes watered and stung. I coughed up a wealth of water, which splashed against the ground. My skin burned all over. I breathed heavily and coughed again. "Lord," I spluttered, and coughed once more. Someone shoved their toes hard into my downed stomach, and I fell onto my side.

    "Don't steal anything else from us or we'll beat you shitless!" the man who'd kicked me threatened. I had hardly noticed the other five men in the room, besides Kasseran. I remembered everything. I remembered how idiotic I must have looked, dragging myself about like I knew little to nothing. Little did they know I knew everything.

    "Hang on!" I called out, getting to my knee. "That wasn't me, I promise! The Ion was in my head, I-"

    "Piss off," the same man laughed.

    "What's your name, sir?" I asked him.

    He looked around uncomfortably. He searched Kasseran for approval, who only nodded. "It's Yakon," he said. I smiled. It wasn't my Yakon, but it was good to have someone with his name in my company. If only he weren't such a brute. A headache suddenly split my head in two. I was back on my knees.

    "I need rest," I told them. "I haven't slept in days."

    "Kasseran says you were out there fighting a dragon with your bare hands," Yakon spat, "which is the only reason I'm giving you a bed. But for talking utter gibberish to us since you arrived and trying to steal relics from our home, we want you out in twenty four hours."

    One of the men cringed and grabbed Yakon by the shoulder. The man was dark brown of hair, verging on black, with dark green eyes and a muscular face. "We've discussed this, Yakon."

    Kasseran leaned in. "We can't just kill him... He's deserved to live this long."

    "What the hell are you talking about?" I asked. "And who's he?"

    "Ah..." Kasseran looked around at everyone else. "Well... He's..." Yakon looked at him. His eyes pierced Kasseran like bullets. "He's... Okay, Jacob. You probably won't believe me, but this is Malla Corren." Yakon was emotionless.

    "You're right," I grinned. "I don't believe you."

    "Look," Yakon shouted. "This is Malla Corren! If you don't believe that, then we're just gonna kill you right here right now, and I won't even give you a bed! I won't even dig a hole for you, do you understand?"

    "I'll believe you if you give me that relic," I bargained. There was a moment of silence. Yakon, Kasseran and Malla had another conversation with their eyes. Kasseran raised his eyebrows quickly and frequently, while Yakon did a lot of shaking his head. Malla mainly watched. The other two men had gone god knows where.

    "Fine..." Yakon huffed. "I'll get you that bloody relic, it's no good to us here anyway..." Yakon walked off to collect the relic that had rolled along the floor and away to the edge of the room.

    Malla looked me dead in the eye. "Listen, Jacob. I am Malla Corren, alright? I slipped away with these men during the massacre."

    "Then show me the diamond knife," I demanded. I knew Zenn had it, I had spoken to him about it, and Zenn told me everything about Malla's death. Zenn had sworn to Malla that he would kill the men who slaughtered him. Was that truly all for nought?"

    "I gave it to Zenn Codett," Malla said. He looked down at the floor.

    "Is Sasha dead yet?" Kasseran asked me.

    "Not yet," I told them. I had been watching the Islander's exploits through the Ion of the gun and crystals on the island. "Although they are preparing for war. It's said that Yakon attacked Ollos at the Floating Island and kidnapped Jack Corren, and is going to use it as a bargaining tool against Sasha."

    "So we've heard," Yakon slamme the relic in the palm of my hand. You've heard? I thought. What? "Now use it wisely or don't use it at all, got it?"

    "Got it," I told him. I planned to use it as wisely as was possible.
  • RecursionRecursion The cosmos Join Date: 2017-07-01 Member: 231505Members
    Oh goody, now, Jacob, don't go touching any more ion, we've talked about that.
  • TenebrousNovaTenebrousNova England Join Date: 2015-12-23 Member: 210206Members
    I thought Lytha is hard coded to obey Jack's commands? Why would she be able to defy him like that?
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    I thought Lytha is hard coded to obey Jack's commands? Why would she be able to defy him like that?

    She's not necessarily coded to follow his every command, but to act in Jack's best interests. That won't always mean following his commands without question.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Sasha Corren

    Yakon's thirty men were fast approaching, if the newly-incarcerated Barvan was to be believed, with Jack in their custody. Barvan had been rattling around in that cage for hours by now, insisting that if Yakon could destroy Ollos and his men he would make short work of us. Of course, Charmon was close by my ear, feeding me horrendous notions that would surely get me killed. Sail out and confront them yourself, he recommended. Taking Jack back on your own would send a strong message. I dismissed all of his advice. Barvan and Charmon had started off as low as any other on the Island, but they had risen as high as even my shoulders. Their rivalry was obvious, though their little pissing contest had suddenly been blown way out of proportion. Charmon and Commander Olfir were close; closer than Barvan was to either of them. Barvan had focused so much on his spies over and under seas that he forgot to make allies closer by. Now Olfir's Island Guard had Barvan locked in a cell, and first guess who schemed that.

    The Island Guard were lined along the Island's southern coast, as they had been for hours without even one knee's quiver. Olfir stood behind them, watching from as far as was possible without one's back jutting into the mountainside. I took a stand next to him.

    "Damn..." he sighed. "Perhaps it's a sin to say, but I'm growing tired of the sea."

    Olfir was right. The sea had been our captor for far too long. When we woke and peered through curtains, the sea is what we saw. When we worked, the salt spray was what we felt in the air, and we fell asleep every day to the sound of the waves lapping against the sand. "I'll tell you what," Olfir and I exchanged a smile. "There's a planet just a few phasejumps away; the only water on it is what we brought there, the only natural springs at the barren rock's humid poles."

    "When we get the Gantry," Olfir continued, "take me right there. After this is done, I won't be able to get enough dry land."

    I presume Olfir would have stayed and watched the Islanders' actions for a lot longer, if he hadn't spied two men picking something up wrongly. He rushed over, shouting commands all the while and left me. My time was now my own. I decided that I would visit Barvan. I hadn't seen him since the Island guard rightfully locked the traitor away. He knew the laws I had set, he knew that he had broken them, and now he sat paying the price. But I didn't find out until I spied him in that cage, and even then I had to seek explanation from Olfir himself. I had never ordered such a thing, and the deed was carried out without my knowing. I was furious, but I saw the logic. Even though I theorised that it was by another's command that Olfir locked Barvan away.

    I looked up at Barvan. "Hi," was the only word I could muster.

    "Don't trust him," Barvan said at once. "Whatever he offers you, do not go through with it."

    Yakon would offer me no more than my son. I'd see what the deal was first, and the likelihood was that I would agree to the terms. My son was with him, and I didn't care what I gave to get him back. "I wasn't planning on trusting Yakon," I lied.

    "I'm not talking about Yakon," Barvan grabbed the bars. The cage swung with his weight. "I'm talking about Charmond. Bloody Charmond has allies and spies everywhere. They'll feed you lies, and put sour notions in your head. I don't know to what ends. I was trying to find out, but here I am."

    He was spouting folly. Charmond was, of course, not to be trusted, but the idea that anyone among us could be his spy was preposterous. Barvan admitted to knowing nothing about Charmond's end game. I began to walk away.

    "Sasha, just listen to me," Barvan urged. "Charmond has something up his sleeve, and I believe that he would see you killed to achieve his goals. What has he been telling you, Sasha?"

    He couldn't want me dead. There was no way. Yes, he told me to confront Yakon alone, but perhaps he truly thought it was right, he didn't want me dead. He compelled me to venture downwards, into the Lava. He compelled me to go with a small group, no more than four he said. He told me that there I would find the cure for the Carar, which I didn't believe for a second. But maybe... He had also... he had given me the idea to amass an army and sail to Ollos in the first place. I told him we hadn't enough men nor Cyclops and weapons, but he pushed the notion all the same.

    "I have to go now, Barvan." I turned and walked away.

    "He's dangerous, Sasha!" Barvan called out. "Anyone could be lurking under his wing!" Even you? I thought.

  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Jack Malla Corren

    I swam and swam and swam. My feet were aching with pins and needles, my hands were cold and exposed, and I couldn't see Yakon anywhere beneath me; just the gaping tunnel that lead to places unknown. I looked back to the surface. The doors in the bottom of the Cyclops were slowly closing. I thought I could hear Lytha's angry cries, but I was probably just hearing the ocean. The doors were half closed by then anyway.

    I had only ever swam in open ocean. I swam seeing nothing beneath me but deep blue. Occasionally a fish would swim to the surface to greet me, inspect me and soon enough be back on its way. It was liberating to now be swimming in the presence of shoals of peepers and boomerangs, seeing red, swaying grass and stone pillars all the while. Of course, I had seen all of this inside the Cyclops, but it was a different thing entirely to swim through it all.

    A shoal of peepers gushed past me. A flurry of orange dinner-plate-eyes passed me, and they were suddenly gone. Down the crevasse I was beginning to see faraway purple lights. I only sped up, pulling myself further and further downwards. I continued, down and down and down, until I had fallen under the lip of the ravine, and the calming red weeds were out of sight. But as the ocean grew darker and deeper, and my ears began to pop and my throat began to churn and bubble, I made sure to remember the red grasses and glorious wildlife I was leaving behind.

    "Go..." the voice in my mind urged. "Go... Go... Fast..." The first time I had heard the voice I thought it nothing more than one of my own thoughts, but now it felt more real than ever. It returned again and again and again to talk to me, but I never spoke back. Perhaps that was my mistake. Whatever this voice was, it could have been looking for no more than an answer.

    "Who are you?" I felt like a fool. It was difficult to talk through the scuba gear, but I managed all the same. "Why do you keep on talking to me?"

    I waited. I waited longer. I swam, and all the while waited for a response, but a response did not come. It wasn't real in the first place, I told myself.

    "Real..." the voice scared me that time, almost out of my flippers I kicked so hard. It was as if I were hearing it through my own ears. I decided that I would do no more talking to this voice now; there were more important matters to attend to.

    The system of caves had opened to me now, almost fully. I had never expected the purple lights in the cave to be enormous, luminous mushrooms, but here they grew, right before me. The walls were black and charred, and the floor was covered in strange plants. Peepers swam down here, too, but their eyes were no more orange than the night sky is white. These peepers saw with enormous purple disks, and swam with three long tentacles in place of a fin. The water was surprisingly clear down here, and that is when I saw it.

    A graveyard. The titanium spines and shells of colossal submarines scattered the distant floors of the cave. And I saw, walking towards the wreckages, a little P.R.A.W.N suit. I waved my arms high above my head to get Yakon's attention, but the P.R.A.W.N did not falter one bit.

    "Yakon!" I called, but of course he could not hear.

    "Go over..." the voice was back. "Catch him... Danger, there will be, but overcome it you must..."

    "I don't care about danger anymore," I said as I began to swim. However annoying and terrifying the voice was, it gave notable advice. "What are you?" I asked the voice again. I waited, but once again the reply did not come. I need to know what that voice is, I thought.

    "Give it time..." the voice said in a calming tone. It was only now that I realised: I hadn't a clue what this voice sounded like. I had heard it, I had heard what it said, but I hadn't a clue whether the voice was of a man or a woman, of an elder or a child, of a human or something else. I just... I just heard it. "You will watch as the universe changes as it never has before. You will watch as the living are tainted by infection, and the dead rise like the tide, oh yes, give it time. But now is now, wouldn't you say? Reach him... Reach him, and avoid danger as if you were a shadow avoiding the light, and if it should reach you, combat it as time should combat life. You are a seed, ripe for germination. You just have to be nurtured. Break through. Succeed."

    And as the voice departed, Yakon steered round to face me. I could hear him now, screaming for me from inside that mech of his.
  • RecursionRecursion The cosmos Join Date: 2017-07-01 Member: 231505Members
    Yoda, what are you doing here? And is this a baby sea emperor he's chatting to?
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    edited August 2017
    Jack Malla Corren

    I cold see Yakon yelling behind the glass, but I couldn't make out a word the man said. He had caught me out of the air with the grappling hook built in to his mech suit, and had now grabbed both of my arms. His real arms, inside the mech, were flailing as he boomed, as if they were worms burrowing through the dirt. His arms stopped moving, as did his mouth. He's done I thought. A headache came to me suddenly, but it was gone almost as quickly.

    Yakon reached behind his seat. He heaved a pair of goggles and an oxygen tank from behind, but he did not bother to put them on his head or back. Instead he pushed the glass forward, opening the P.R.A.W.N, and threw them out of the suit. I watched as his eyes squinted and turned a veiny red. He was slinging his thumb over his shoulder urgently, as if for me to get in. I swam forwards, and I did my best to squeeze behind Yakon's seat. It pushed him forwards a slight bit, the leather cracking as it leaned, but Yakon did no complaining. He reached up, grabbed the latch and threw the glass down. The P.R.A.W.N was closed, but filled to bursting with salt water. Yakon searched for a button. He looked at the ceiling, and there it was; a green, pulsing button, no bigger than my thumbnail. Yakon pressed it, and the water began gradually seeping out of the P.R.A.W.N. When there was only a lip of water missing, Yakon pressed his mouth to the ceiling and began to pant. His arm dug into my face, and my goggles slid off and around my neck. The sudden rush of salt water made me shut my eyes hard. I breathed carefully; there wasn't much oxygen in this tank to begin with.

    When the water had finally drained out, and the lights came flickering back on, Yakon turned around. "I've lived a lot of lives, Jack," he began. "But never have I died. You'll be the death of me, Jack, you know that? If you keep up like this."

    "What do you mean you've 'lived many lives'?" I asked. I hated when he said this. If you've lived so long, perhaps it's time for you to finally kick the bucket.

    "I've used a lot of names in my time, Jack: Eryn Larn, Craig McGill, Therys. Never have I met someone who has actually wanted to see me dead more than you."

    "Why have you done that?" I asked. "Why do you have so many names? Is Yakon even your real name?!" I wanted to punch him. I slipped of my oxygen tank. It clattered to the floor.

    "No," Yakon finally said (or this man pretending to be Yakon), "and I can change it again in a heartbeat, so why don't you just keep out of trouble while I do what I need to do?!"

    "Because Lytha's gone mad!" I finally told him. I didn't know if that much was true, but it seemed like it from all she had done on the surface. Yakon gave me an inquiring stare. "She says she's spoken to someone, and they thought that you had thirty men with you, and they want you dead, Yakon!"

    Yakon chuckled, and gave a tiny grin. "Didn't I say this would happen?" Yakon's grin turned to a smile. "You shouldn't give AI the choice, you should just tell them what you want them to do; no more. Well, that man sounds like he was with the Islanders. They're the only people who knew about my thirty men and women. Sadly, though, I'm not with them right now, am I? Well, to tell you the truth, I am..." I looked at him blankly. "There they are, Jack." Yakon looked out over the titanium graveyard in front of us. The metal had turned pitch black and rusty. "There's my thirty men, with a few of Ollos's mixed in. The day that tyrant took you, I vowed that I would get you back. I went with my five Cyclops and thirty men and women and we were going to take you back. But Ollos intercepted us, right above these caves. There was a tremendous battle. We came down here for cover, but we were only cornered. I was lucky to have survived. I just came back for a bit of nostalgia..."

    "Fair enough," I told him, "but apparently there's someone out there who wants you dead more than I do, wouldn't you say?"

    Yakon gave me a stern look. "Yes... I would say..."

    "You must go..." the voice startled me. I

    "You okay?" Yakon called back. "What happened?"

    "I'm just a bit cold," I lied. "Um, Yakon? Are we leaving now?"

    "I need to get a closer look, Jack, but then yes, we're leaving."

    "Well... could we leave now?" He gave me a disgusted look. "I mean, it's dangerous down here. I've got quite the bad feeling about going any nearer. Or any direction other than up, for that matter."

    His expression was unchanged. "You should have thought of that before you came traipsing down here to see me."

    I was getting annoyed. "We need... to avoid danger like... we're light avoiding a... or a shadow-"

    "A shadow avoiding the light." I hadn't expected Yakon to know what I was saying. He looked at me stunned. "Okay... Okay, yea, we'll leave..."
  • RecursionRecursion The cosmos Join Date: 2017-07-01 Member: 231505Members
    Now another side? I'm just getting mixed up how many people there are.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Recursion wrote: »
    Now another side? I'm just getting mixed up how many people there are.

    Luckily for you, Yakon's thirty seem rather dead :)

    On a serious note, I saw this becoming an issue from the first chapter of Flagship Eclipse. When the story first sprouted in my head, I knew that there would eventually have to be more characters than the base six, especially if I was about to start killing them off as if I were the plague (the only survivor of that base six is Zenn).

    This may sound rather strange, but it's somewhat of a good thing that you're getting mixed up. Some of the characters definitely seem to be in the same boat as you (Barvan thinks that Yakon's thirty are still alive, and with him, and that they attacked the Silvers' island when in fact it was Lytha. And Jacob has met these folk down in the Prison Facility, and he has no idea where their loyalties lie). It's sometimes difficult to keep track of wars and sides and everything in the real world, not to mention its history.

    And when it comes down to it, that's what Flagship Eclipse was in my mind; complex. A simulation of war on 4546B, and how the Carar, Ion, environment and the human condition would realistically have all of this play out. And when you're writing is based around the human condition and human choices, it's hard to get all of that across with just one character. That's why I have a myriad of main characters, all with a different way of thinking and feeling and performing, so that every side of every argument can be represented in a way to make you say 'this way is good, but so is that way...'

    The idea is that eventually you'll be able to really resonate with one of these main characters (Zenn as an outcast just trying to get back in the mix, or Sasha who has lost everything important to her and is doing her best to get it back, or Jack who has discovered the lies in his life and is searching to find the truth, or Jacob who has found things out that should never have happened in the first place and is trying to live with that), and the character that you resonate with and support more than the rest is your main character (if that makes any sense).

    So the complexity isn't at an end, nor will it be, but I do think that the rest of Volume 2 will be able to play out with what we've got. I don't plan on adding any more factions in this volume, which is a plus for me and those who are finding the amount of sides just a bit too bewildering.
  • RecursionRecursion The cosmos Join Date: 2017-07-01 Member: 231505Members
    Jamezorg wrote: »
    Recursion wrote: »
    Now another side? I'm just getting mixed up how many people there are.

    Luckily for you, Yakon's thirty seem rather dead :)

    On a serious note, I saw this becoming an issue from the first chapter of Flagship Eclipse. When the story first sprouted in my head, I knew that there would eventually have to be more characters than the base six, especially if I was about to start killing them off as if I were the plague (the only survivor of that base six is Zenn).

    This may sound rather strange, but it's somewhat of a good thing that you're getting mixed up. Some of the characters definitely seem to be in the same boat as you (Barvan thinks that Yakon's thirty are still alive, and with him, and that they attacked the Silvers' island when in fact it was Lytha. And Jacob has met these folk down in the Prison Facility, and he has no idea where their loyalties lie). It's sometimes difficult to keep track of wars and sides and everything in the real world, not to mention its history.

    And when it comes down to it, that's what Flagship Eclipse was in my mind; complex. A simulation of war on 4546B, and how the Carar, Ion, environment and the human condition would realistically have all of this play out. And when you're writing is based around the human condition and human choices, it's hard to get all of that across with just one character. That's why I have a myriad of main characters, all with a different way of thinking and feeling and performing, so that every side of every argument can be represented in a way to make you say 'this way is good, but so is that way...'

    The idea is that eventually you'll be able to really resonate with one of these main characters (Zenn as an outcast just trying to get back in the mix, or Sasha who has lost everything important to her and is doing her best to get it back, or Jack who has discovered the lies in his life and is searching to find the truth, or Jacob who has found things out that should never have happened in the first place and is trying to live with that), and the character that you resonate with and support more than the rest is your main character (if that makes any sense).

    So the complexity isn't at an end, nor will it be, but I do think that the rest of Volume 2 will be able to play out with what we've got. I don't plan on adding any more factions in this volume, which is a plus for me and those who are finding the amount of sides just a bit too bewildering.

    Oh yes, they are dead. Forgot about that.
  • TenebrousNovaTenebrousNova England Join Date: 2015-12-23 Member: 210206Members
    Jamezorg wrote: »
    (the only survivor of that base six is Zenn).

    I thought Jacob encountered Malla in the Active Lava Zone? That would make two.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Jamezorg wrote: »
    (the only survivor of that base six is Zenn).

    I thought Jacob encountered Malla in the Active Lava Zone? That would make two.

    Jacob is having some quite serious doubts as to whether Malla is who he says he is. From the perspective of all of our characters (and perhaps those perspectives are misguided or downright wrong), Zenn is the only one left.

    A big theme of Volume 2, which I have yet to tackle in a big way, is identity. With more people and factions than ever, and a whole new fourteen years of history, it will be more difficult to find people who will recognise a face. Jacob is fighting this topic's first traces down in the Prison Facility.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    edited August 2017
    Jacob Sand

    The Ion was only in my head for a week; enough time to carry me to that facility. But what it had shown me was beyond what science or history could predict. I had seen the rise and fall of empires and planets, and I had seen the births and deaths of millions. What the Ion saw, I saw. I had seen futures that should have been but never were; a future where Sasha Corren didn't make the decision to pick up five hundred men and women and travel here to pick up her brother. Malla, Tary, Zenn and Penna would have made Terra a decade ago; I even saw a future where Sampson and Otta could go with them. But now Zenn was all that was left of the Eclipse. I saw him, too, but from a distance.

    The futures I saw weren't all as obviously false as that. I saw a future where the seas were vomit-green from pole to pole, and the fish swam limp and frail, and the monsters were more deadly than they had ever been. Scales had turned grey, eyes had turned orange, and thoughts had turned to the stars. Ollos's Gantry would be used by some of the Carar. It was a short-range space craft, so of course it would land on the moon and infect the rescue team there. Then it boarded their vessel, and the infection landed at the Federation's doorstep. The universe was plagued, and better off eliminated than all else. One man stood to the task. Galaxies burned, and stars shivered and died away like candles in gusty wind. Who was that man?

    But there was another future; the most hopeful future I had seen. It was insurmountably vague, however, and I could not draw much from it. The seas were green, yes, but a small archipelago remained its watery deep blue. I saw 4546B's red moon shattered in the sky, and great destroyers rushed to the wreckage. There was a great war, after that; a war with four sides. An unwinnable war for all. A dark, terrible battle. Its name for some reason resonated in my mind: the Emerald Judgement.

    But there was one close future I had seen. It blurred in my mind, some details running from the rest, but I understood well enough. One of Sasha's men summoned a terrible beast in that vision. It was a beast with burning blue eyes, and muscled arms that could rip limb from shoulder and waist. That monster killed Sasha in that vision, but so did it die mere seconds after. The Ion had shown me all of thi

    The Precursors formed a religion based around the Ion. They thought that the crystals were a connection to the almighty Trixvinta Zatgarub, the All-Knowing Lord of Time. Perhaps they were not misguided. How could a crystal such as this hold so much knowledge? Out of all twenty two Precursor religions, and all the countless others scattered about the cosmos, the Court of Ion seemed the one true belief.

    "Listen here, Jacob," the one who called himself Malla came over to me. "We've talked about letting you go, but I don't reckon there's any easy way for that to happen."

    "Talked with who?" It was a known fact that Kasseran thought himself smarter than he was, but smart enough to plot whatever was going on? I didn't think so. He could barely walk up those rams without staggering over his own feet. They were right not to let me go. This is what made me suspicious. "Kasseran?"

    "Y-yes." Malla nodded. "We've decided not to let you go until you're ready."

    "Until I'm ready?" A rather odd thing to say, I found. "Why me? I'm happy to wait until you're all read to go."

    "We can't leave too early," the man scratched his cheek. "Lest we run into any complications getting me back in the fray. Ollos and my sister are at each other's throats. My nephew is out there somewhere." He looked straight into my eyes. "I don't trust that boy, Jacob. A childhood with Ollos whispering in your ear can't do any good to a boy. He's not fit for command, wouldn't you agree?"

    I had all the proof I needed. I just needed an explanation as to one more thing. "When I first came here, Kasseran asked me something. He asked me if Sasha was dead yet. Surely that's a rather bold thing to ask, especially with you in the room. I'm surprised he still has teeth left."

    "I..." he was stumbling. "It was a rash thing to ask, yes, and terribly selfish. I can't go up there until Sasha's gone, you see? God knows how she'll react if I came back now." However she reacted, you wouldn't gain command, I realised. I knew everything I needed to know. I just needed to kick him down once more.

    "You can't be certain she'll die, though? What if she blasts off and you're left here with the Carar and Ollos to contend with? That can't be ideal, nor can it be all too beneficial."

    "She won't get off-world," he said this as if I should have already known. "No one can. Only a cleansed individual can temporarily deactivate the gun for takeoff. Surely you of all people should know that much."

    "There are ways of curing yourself, Malla." He was being delusional. The Carar was incredibly dangerous, yes, but of course there were ways to cure yourself. The Aurora Survivor said so. "The Aurora Survivor came down here and released juvenile Sea Emperors into the world. They have the enzymes capable of curing-"

    "You're right," Malla was searching for a response. He ended up just nodding and walking away.

    It was obvious that these people wanted Sasha dead so that this Malla could assume control. It was also exceedingly obvious that there was someone on the surface informing these people (how could they have known about Jack in the first place, if they had come here during the Aurora Massacre? These people wouldn't even know about Ollos and his tyranny if what they said was true. I was left wondering two things: who was Kasseran's informant, and why did these people have to come here? Now, I believed that Kasseran's informant was Barvan Grey. That man was a dear friend of mine, but as sly as a man could come. He had spies everywhere, and informants left and right. I befriended him, only to find that his reach stretched further than I had thought. He let me speak with Zenn. Maybe all of this was just a ploy to have him sit the chair of leadership? Or perhaps it was the other one... I forget his name. He was more sinister.

    So... what did this place have that anywhere else did not? There were a few possibilities; it was far away, it was large, the relics were here, the prison was unique... the prison... I decided that I would search for the chamber in which the Emperor was once housed. Stored would be a better word to describe it Surely if these people were down here, the chamber must have been put to good use, and whatever use it was it couldn't have been pleasant. I made my way to the room filled with relics, one of which was still in my pocket. The moon shattered in my dream... I thought. Surely... no, they can't be related... I stood in the centre of the room. A woman with dark skin stood in a corner, speaking to Yakon mark 2 (which is what I called this idiotic version). What the talked about, I couldn't say; I could only discern that it was completely trivial. Whatever conversation they were having, it must have been wholly engrossing, as I was able to slip up the second ramp without any hassle.

    I walked into a large room. A pool of water sat at its heart (I paid little heed to what else was around). Quite suddenly, a splitting headache caught me. It was nothing at first, but the sting slowly evolved into an ache, and then the ache into a terrible pain. I heard voices inside my head; the familiar voice of the Ion, battling words from a mouth I did not know. They were in an argument so heated that I began to sweat. I fell to my knees. Their bickering turned to shouts and wails in my mind. I felt vomit crawling up my throat, and my stomach had turned hollow. And, as suddenly as it had come to me, the migraine subsided. I took back to my feet, doing all in my power not to vomit all over the floor. I walked to the pool. Staggered more than walked, if I'm honest. I fell in face-first when I finally arrived. I was met with an observation deck. Rather useless for it to be in the water, I thought. I swam to the edge and peered over.

    And what I saw was beyond disgusting. It was the utter violation of rational thought itself.

    Three Sea Emperors swam down there. Their scales were brown, their eyes glowing as blue as headlights. Upright, they would stand only a few feet taller than a man. Yet they circled the prison over and over again. The most disgusting part was that their mother's skeleton still rested at the heart of the jail. But surely there would be five... One of the Emperors looked directly at me. My headache returned, stronger than it ever had been.

    And then I was knocked out.
  • RecursionRecursion The cosmos Join Date: 2017-07-01 Member: 231505Members
    edited August 2017
    Their mothers skeleton. I knew this day would come. The precursors cleaning staff were killed by the carar. therefore we have skeletons floating about the place.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    edited August 2017
    Barvan Grey

    It was pitch dark. All that shone was the moon, red as blood, and the moon behind it, white as bone. The stars were barely visible from my cave; the southern horizon, the only horizon I could see from my cave and cage, was blanketed in thick grey cloud. I hope it's raining on Ollos's head, I thought bitterly. The Island was sleeping, though I thought it poor judgement for Sasha to allow the Island Guard this night off duty. I had warned her not to put all the Guard on duty at once, but upon hearing my plea she insisted that she would not take orders from a caged man. Fair enough. Though if Yakon came that night, everyone would be dead in under an hour, at most.

    I felt myself drifting to sleep. My eyes closed, and I could hear the wind and waves fading away, and I could feel dreams crashing into my head. But before I was allowed to let them flourish, I could hear the parting of sand beneath foot, one step at a time. It came at a walk, and sounded like only one person. Good God, is it Yakon? My eyes fluttered open, and I sat up as best I could in the cage. I peered through the night to catch sight of who was approaching. I tried to speak and pry for a name, though my throat wouldn't heed me. When the gunk left my eyes, I could see as clearly as one could in the heart of the night.

    "Sasha?" I asked. A smile cut across my face. She stood before my hanging cage, looking up at me, a torch in hand. "Have you come to let me go?" That would have been fantastic. I needed to be let go as soon as was capable. There was a race going on that Sasha didn't even know about; a race against me and all of my villains. I had all of Ollos's movements under tabs, I was so close to uncovering Charmond's schemes, and was preparing to end them before they came to fruition. The longer I was locked up, the further in the race my enemies crawled. The further behind I was. Yet she gave no answer. "Are you going to kill me?" She said nothing, yet I thought I spies a grin on her face when I said it. Give me something, Sasha. "What do you want?" I finally insisted.

    "Why would I ever let you go?" She shook her head as if in disbelief. "You betrayed me. You broke my laws."

    I was ready to dispute her points, but something stopped me. Perhaps it was an unwinnable argument. On some levels, she's right. "Well then, what do you want?"

    She gave a rough sigh. "I want you to come with me. Me, Olfir and Charmond were about to commence a discussion. Yet we have you to thank for the topic at hand. You are most knowledgeable on all this, with all your spies and transmitter, so it wouldn't be right not to have you there." Suddenly two Island Guard emerged from the shadows. This angered me.

    "They should be on duty, Sasha, if they're awake. Yakon could attack at any mome-"

    "You'll come with my and you won't complain." The two guards began to unlock the cage. The padlock hung from the bottom of the gate, over the edge, so it was at nose-height of the guard turning the key. When the cage was unlocked and the guard pulled it open I slid out and down onto the stones. To my surprise, they both wrapped their arms around one of mine. "I apologise if they're being a bit rough," Sasha smiled. Each of them loosened their grip slightly. "But precautions have to be taken."

    And so they walked me to the observatory in which all of our meetings took place (going up the ladders were quite the challenge). Olfir and Charmond were already there (obviously). "There he is," Charmond widened his arms and smiled. Olfir stood emotionless. He glared at me like I'd never been glared at before.

    "Don't," I put a hand out to Charmond. "A shake of the hand will suffice, I think." Olfir still stared at me. I forced a smile for him and nodded, and although his expression remained unchanged he took a seat.

    "Very well," Charmond looked awkwardly at Sasha, who I can only assume shrugged behind my back. He walked up to me and took my hand, grabbing very hard. "I trust you've grown accustom to your new housing," he smiled, displaying annoyingly white teeth. "You should thank Olfir for putting you in there..." as Sasha walked past Charmond she gave him a knowing glare. He didn't seem to notice, and if he had he didn't appear to mind very much. "... He was generous to be as gentle as he was; he could have handled you a lot rougher."

    "Is it really him I should be thanking?" I grinned at Charmond. He snatched his hand away and it turned into a point, the tip of his index only an inch from my nose. He wore a stern face, his eyes cutting like diamonds. The two Guard at my arms grabbed a little tighter. This is just the confirmation I and Sasha needed, I grinned at him. "I should really be thanking someone else, shouldn't I? If Sasha didn't give the order, then who did? I doubt Olfir knew about my little transmitter, so it had to be someone who-"

    "Take a seat," Olfir beckoned. "I didn't call this meeting to have you two bicker like teenagers." Sasha gave Olfir an angry look, though the face Olfir shot back turned her anger to dread in an instant as she looked down to the table. Charmond looked over his shoulder at Olfir with the same expression he gave me. This put Olfir in the same state Sasha was in; fear. He'll regret saying that, I knew. Whether it be because of Sasha or his kennel-master, we shall see.

    "No?" Charmond beckoned the guards holding me over to the observatory. "Forgive me for making that mistake. Barvan, would you be so kind as to sit? The chair between me and Olfir will do." He smiled at me. Placing me between him and the Island Guard commander was a taunt and he knew it. More and more evidence was surfacing; Charmond was playing Olfir like a pawn. The commander wasn't the brightest of men (he had a way with words, and his handwriting and English were more than perfect, but when it came to logic and cunning he was lacking). No doubt Charmond had his ways of keeping the man in line.

    "Now, Barvan..." Sasha looked me in the eyes with powerful intent. "You've... by illegal means or otherwise... spoken to Zenn, haven't you?" Oh! this came as a great relief to me. What does she want with Zenn? Hopefully she wants him to come home; even heeding his warnings of Federation tax would be enough to sate me.

    "What's the trouble with Zenn?" I asked.

    "Well, we've heeded your words," Charmond said uncomfortably. "And we trust that you relay Zenn's interests fairly and without fault. And so, with this trust, we ask you to take a Cyclops, bring as many men as you need, and sail north at your earliest convenience. You will search for Zenn, and you will turn him to our side."

    "We trust you know where he resides?" Olfir sounded raspy.

    "Roughly," I lied. I hadn't a clue where Zenn was, only that he was north of the Island. But I'd give whatever I could for my freedom, and to be on the same side as Zenn in whatever conflicts were to come. The Islanders just aren't suiting my interests anymore.

    "If it's any consolation, the further north you travel the smaller the globe gets." Olfir shrugged. "More chance of seeing something."

    Hang on, I thought to myself. "Whose idea was this? To send me north, I mean?" If it's one of those two's...

    "Why, I believe it was Olfir's idea," Sasha nodded at Olfir. "Quite the stroke of genius. I wouldn't have thought such a stroke of genius would come from the mind of one whose strategies reside on the battlefield over all else," she nodded at Olfir, who laughed. It was Charmond's idea, then. Charmond seemed to be on the case. Him and I stared angrily at each other whilst Olfir and Sasha had their short discussion (about what I didn't hear). Charmond and I were having our own discussion. It was as if we could read one another's minds. You know, he said. I do, I said. We spoke until Sasha's voice cut the air. "Alright," she began.

    "I can't go," I insisted.

    "Too bad, prisoner; you already agreed!" Charmond laughed. He needs me gone, I knew. So desperately... but why?.

    "Okay," I said. "Listen. If Yakon comes, and his thirty men are defeated, and Jack is returned safely to Sasha, both of them unharmed, I will gladly head north. But as it stands, I will go back to my cage no matter how many beatings I receive on the way; something I wouldn't put past you, Olfir, or you, Charmond. So take me back, and after the battle is won I will happily go and make your alliances for you."

    Sasha nodded.

  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    edited August 2017
    Jack Malla Corren

    Being squeezed behind the chair of a P.R.A.W.N was not desirable. My knees scraped my chin, my fingers were pressed between the titanium hull and my shins, and my sides were a few centimetres closer to each other than usual. It was incredibly claustrophobic. The darkness outside was haunting. The only light to break the shadow was purple and unsettling. The lack of wildlife down here was eerie. All there were were deep sea peepers and not much else. Yakon's head clouded most of my vision.

    "Why is the rock down here so black?" My voice shattered the air inside the mech. It was louder than usual, as we had been quiet for so long.

    "I couldn't say," Yakon sighed, looking around at the pitch black walls, ceiling and floor of the cavern. "But I did used to know a guy who could tell you. Had a weird fascination with all kinds of rocks, that one. I don't know where he went, though. If we ever make it home, I'll track him down for you."

    "I won't need to know by then," I frowned. A question crossed my mind then that I had never thought to ask. I had no idea what was wrong with me for not wondering this before, but the thought just came to me. "How old are you, Yakon?"

    "Rather a blunt question," Yakon laughed. "Why d'you ask?"

    "Well, you seem to know everyone in the galaxy. You've been on so many adventures, experienced so much. How could someone do that in one lifetime? You must be-"

    "Okay," Yakon gave an awkward chuckle. "That's enough about the age thing." He carried on piloting the mech until the opening was dead above us. "Right, I suggest you hold onto something. The thrusters in the soles of this mech's feet are quite powerful, and you're going to feel a jolt when I activate them. Just make sure you don't hit your head when that shake comes, you got it?"

    "I do," I pressed my hands hard against the walls. Enough pressure on the sides of the mech would stop me from flying off anywhere.

    There was a sudden noise; the hiss of a snake, the growl of a tiger, the clattering of jaws like a chainsaw. Yakon looked over his shoulder. "What did you touch?" I remained silent. His face was one of dread, his expression one of blinding fear. His eyes were wide and his mouth was gaping. A small school of those abyssal peepers dispersed quicker than a skyray could dive. The terrifying sound broke the water again, closer this time. The vibrations could be felt shooting through the titanium around me. "Did you... touch..."

    There was silence. Yakon pressed his hands against the glass and leaned forwards. My lungs felt relief as the chair fell away from me and gave me space enough to breathe. Yakon was desperately looking around to see if he could spot the source of all the commotion. I leaned forward around the chair. I was reaching for the button that turned off the mech's lights. I pressed further forward, my fingers searching for the button that was just out of reach. The mech was more claustrophobic than it had ever been; Yakon was practically standing up now, as straight as the confines would allow. Finally I decided to throw myself forward. Yakon nearly fell onto the console as the chair's back thrust forward with me, but I was able to turn off the lights before the force threw me back in place.

    "Good thinking," Yakon complimented. And then the noise sounded again. This time it lasted. The hiss and growl and chatter continued for a good five seconds. It was a sinister growl, closer now than ever before, and right behind us. Yakon turned in place, and when he gazed back and up from the mech he froze. I stood up and leaned forward now. I leaned as far as I could and turned my head back as best as my neck would bend. And what I saw was terror incarnate.

    A white pole shone in the darkness, like a birch tree trunk. Thin flaps of skin waves along its sides like stubby, long wings. It continued up and up and up, and at the top the pole hooked straight towards us. The hook was purple and pink, and ended with two glistening pincers. Whatever creature this was, it was very interested in us. "Just don't move..." Yakon breathed in heavily.

    "What are you talking about?!" I shouted in a whispered tone. "We need to get back to the Cyclops!"

    "Lytha's in the Cyclops," Yakon reminded me. He was right; wherever Lytha was taking us, she had made us enemies behind our backs. "We just need to wait for it to lose interest."

    "You think it will?" I asked. I was unsure. There was silence after that; Yakon didn't answer, and the snake-like monster made no advances. We just stared at each other. "I'm done watching it," I concluded. "It's not moving, Yakon. We need to leave." And so I took a seat behind the P.R.A.W.N's chair, waiting for Yakon to see reason. I waited a whole minute before he eventually jolted back into his chair and fumbled about the controls.

    "We've got to-" there was an enormous crash behind us before Yakon could finish his words. The entire mech shook.

    "What the hell?!" I yelled. The thrusters engaged, and Yakon began the climb back into the light. "Why are we going so slowly?!" We were crawling along at an alarmingly sluggish pace.

    "It's got a hold of us, Jack, there's not much I can do!" Yakon threw the wheel left and right, and the mech thrashed violently and quickly. There was a cry from behind us and the sound of bone dislodging metal. Yakon looked at the monitor on the console. I looked voer his shoulder and, although I couldn't see much, I could make out the shape of the mech. It's body flashed red. "Dammit..." Yakons said quietly. The P.R.A.W.N was ascending quicker than it was, though the vile roars still sounded behind us. "Shit!" He yelled. "Jack, we've taken a lot of damage! How you holding up?!"

    "I'm doing fine!" I lied. "Do you need me to do anything?!"

    "Just keep weight distribution steady!" He called back to me. He looked over his shoulder and detected confusion. "Okay... Just don't rock the damn thing and we should be golden!" We were emerging into the light now. The sun was shining down into the cockpit and onto our faces. Lytha and the Cyclops floated right above us. There was a moment of peace before a second crash shook the vehicle. "Shit!" Yakon cried, louder this time. The P.R.A.W.N shook, as if in the jaws of a lion, or a reaper.

    And then I heard; the thrusters deactivated. "No no no no!" Yakon looked around the controls, flicked a switch and pressed a button in quick succession, and a grapple fired out of the P.R.A.W.N's left arm. The hook landed at the lip of the exit. We were secure. We were in the jaws of a monster, yes, but we had escape in our grasp.

    "Reel us in!" I yelled. Yakon pressed another button and flicked two more switches and there was a static noise, as if lightning had struck an electrical pylon. The P.R.A.W.N stopped shaking, and there were the pained moans of the creature sulking away behind us.

    "Okay..." Yakon sighed. "There's... The P.R.A.W.N isn't in good shape, Jack. The hull is about to break right behind you, the thrusters are completely broken, and that was the last charge I had on the shock defences. Now they're broken too. But the most striking thing is... the grapple appears to be broken as well. It'll fire, but it doesn't seem to be reeling us in. We're just sort of... Hanging here." We were drifting closer to the wall of the entrance. The grapple had landed at the edge of the crevasse, just beneath the world above. If we could reel in, we'd be free of this vile place.

    "So what do we do?" I asked. My voice was as shaky as my hands.

    "Oh Jack," Yakon's eyes were growing moist. "I never should have come here..." There was a moment of silence. "Okay... There's a way to reel in the grapple manually, but it'll require me getting out and pressing the button."

    "But that thing's out there!" I reminded him.

    "I know, I know, but it might not get me. I'll keep a tight grip on the P.R.A.W.N's arm and I'll come right up with you. I promise, Jack." I hoped he was able to do such a thing. I just gave a nod. "Right... Okay, when I open the P.R.A.W.N a lot of water is going to come in. You just need to press this button here after I close the mech up again. This will drain all that water out, you understand?"

    "I do."

    "Right..." He put his hand on the glass. "You ready?" I nodded. "Okay... and... go!"

    Yakon pushed against the glass. Salt water gushed into the P.R.A.W.N. My eyes stung instantly. My ears were filled with water, and all I could hear were the creaks of the P.R.A.W.N around me, and the cries of the monster outside. I heard the mech close, and I pushed myself through the water towards the button. I found it, and I pressed it.

    Nothing happened.

    I pressed it again, with the same result. I pressed it five other times, in rapid succession, and to no avail. But it was only when air bubbles floated past my face that I realised water was draining; just incredibly slowly. I looked up to the ceiling, and noticed a sliver of air between the water and titanium hull. I practically kissed it. My mouth was out of the water, and I was breathing heavily. I had nearly drowned. My eyes stung more and more, but I'd have to live with that for now. And then the hull shook. I heard that same beastly cry. But the hull shaking seemed to speed the process. The rest of the water drained quite quickly; it only took about six seconds. The water stopped draining when it reached my waist, but it was good enough.

    I forced myself into the driver's seat, and looked out the windscreen. There was Yakon, looking around the P.R.A.W.N's left arm. He swam around it like a squirrel climbing around a tree. I heard a sudden growl. Yakon looked up and dread coated his face. A shadow loomed over the P.R.A.W.N for a second before the monster lunged down at Yakon. The beast tore a scar through the arm. Sparks were flying everywhere from the metal limb, and wires were coming loose alongside nuts and bolts and screws. Yakon dodged the attack, sliding around the limb. His face was growing red, as were his eyes. The beast made another lunge.

    The enormous snake grasped Yakon's ankles. Yakon grabbed the arm. The snake was tugging and tugging at his leg, but Yakon wouldn't let go. He had seen the button; the manual release. He reached for it, grabbing onto the arm all the same with the other hand. Blood was leaking from Yakon's foot. His face showed pain. He reached for the button with all the length of his arm. It was only when his foot dislodged from its socket, and the snake dragged the ball of bone and flesh away, that Yakon was able to reach the manual release. He pressed it, and the P.R.A.W.N jolted forwards. I was taken aback by the speed at which it flew. But it was headed right towards the rocks. Closer and closer the rocks came, closer and closer.

    There was a crash. All I remember before blacking out was flying head first into the glass.
  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members

    That can't be good for one's health.
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members
    Jack Malla Corren

    I woke up spluttering. My mouth and nose had fallen beneath the water still sloshing about the inside of the P.R.A.W.N, and almost drowning did a terrific job at waking me. My eyes stung more than I thought possible. Salt had culminated beneath my eye lids. My vision was blurred, and moisture soaked into all of my clothes. It took one horrifying glance down to see that the salt water in the mech was tinted a strawberry red. I felt a sting on my forehead. I touched the spot, and my fingertips came away dipped with blood. I felt something crawl up my throat as I heaved for a lungful of air. Not in here, I thought, terrified. "Yakon," I said, looking down at my bloodied fingertips. "Pull me out, Yakon, I-"

    It only took one look up to silence me. Yakon was nowhere near. The P.R.A.W.N was half submerged in sand and red grass, at the bottom of the sea. I shoal of boomerang gushed passed like a current, just beneath a reefback that swam near the surface. But half of the windscreen was submerged beneath the sand, so I could see nothing. The P.R.A.W.N's maimed grapple arm sat in the sand five feet away. Red grass seemed to be growing out of it, though I was sure it was just the gash that the enormous snake had torn through the metal limb. I reached behind the seat, only now remembering the scuba gear I had used to reach Yakon in the first place. Even if he'd have worn this out, I told myself, he'd still have one less foot. He might not even be alive... That was a devilish thought. I slammed the equipment down onto the control panel. I pressed my hands against the glass and pushed with all the might I could muster. The windscreen wouldn't budge.

    I began beating the glass. "Yakon!" I yelled. I'm going to die in here... I thought. I'll starve, I'll drown, I'll be eaten alive. Whatever happens, It'll mean the end of me. "Yakon! Yakon, can you hear me? Yakon I need help!"

    I could hear the hull creaking around me. The titanium cracked and moaned like a monster. It was incredibly hot and claustrophobic in the mech. I would have thought the water would cool everything down, but it had only made everything warmer, especially with the blood mixed with it. I also suspected there was a little urine in there with me. I had not idea how long I'd been unconscious. It could have been a day or two, or even three. I'm not that thirsty. I told myself. Maybe a day and a half. I curled up in the seat, ready to wait until I died. I wanted to sleep some more. There was nothing to cover up my head wound, nothing to feed or water me, so odds are I'd be dead in a few days. I felt my eyes closing. If I'm lucky, I'll be dead before I wake up. Then I won't have to deal with it...

    I had no idea how long I'd slept, or if I'd even slept at all, but a great bang sounded all through the P.R.A.W.N. My eyes snapped open, only to see an enormous set of teeth pressing against a now cracked windscreen. "Christ!" I recoiled back into my seat. Its lips were grey and its teeth were yellow, whatever this vile creature was. It was in the sand, which was odd. I kicked the glass where it pressed its lips. "Get back!" I yelled at nothing in particular. "Get-"

    The glass cracked some more. Sand began to pour in, and where the windscreen had broken the water turned a yellowy-brown. "Dammit!" I pressed my hands against the openings but it didn't seem to do much good. I pulled the oxygen tank and my goggles above water. I pushed against the glass more, to see if some of it would break away and grant me freedom, but it did not falter. The monster pushed hard against it. There wasn't much to be done.

    And then the sun seemed to turn off. A shadow loomed over the ocean. I looked up. The creature surfaced, now swimming through water instead of sands. What had covered the sun was a cyclops. I smiled, the grin cutting from ear to ear. The cyclops was lowering down towards me. The grey, plated creature darted away, and farther up the dunes stuck itself back into the sea bed. The cyclops lowered further and further, coming closer and closer. Its bottom opened up, bubbles running along the belly of the cyclops as the doors let out pockets of air. Arms tipped with suction cups reached down and grabbed each shoulder of the P.R.A.W.N. The cyclops tugged, but was unable to pull me free. Come on, Lytha, you can do it. There was another forceful tug and the mech emerged a metre from the sand. It shook about, the water sloshing inside as it did. Everything of the P.R.A.W.N from the waist up was revealed. It would only take one more well-timed pull to uncover the whole thing. And that is exactly what the cyclops did. After the P.R.A.W.N was free, I could see that the grapple arm had been completely torn off (probably after the impact with the stone wall), and a leg was dangling from a few loose wires.

    "Thank you..." I sat back in the chair as the P.R.A.W.N was lifted higher and higher into the sub. I closed my eyes. The feeling of elevation was incredibly relaxing. When the P.R.A.W.N stopped I opened my eyes.

    Five strange men and women were looking at me. Well, they weren't entirely strange... I recognised them. One of the five walked up to the P.R.A.W.N. He was skinny, with dark skin, hair and eyes. I've seen these people before... The man unlatched the windscreen of the P.R.A.W.N. The pieces were only just starting to come together. There's only one place I could have ever... "Oh shit..."

    The windscreen opened, and all of the water gushed out, dragging me out with it. The dark man caught me as I was falling out. A woman ran over and grabbed my other arm. "Lucas, let me go!" I wailed. "Lucas!"

    There was immense laughter from all about the cyclops. "You hear that?!" Lucas chuckled. "He wants me to let him go!" The laughter continued. "What do you want, little Jackie? Say it to me..." I said nothing. "Go on..."

    "Let me go, I'll do anything!" Everyone laughed harder. I wriggled to escape, but the woman (who's name I failed to remember) kicked me in the back of the leg and brought me to one knee. "I'll do anything, please, just let me go!"

    "Listen, little man," Lucas wiped his hand across his face, which was still plastered with a smile. "This is the merriest voyage we've ever been on! As long as you don't give us reason to punch your teeth out, we'll do just fine!"

    "Does Ollos want me?"

    "Ollos?!" The laughter renewed. "Ollos is as depressed as a Shuttlebug, Jack; he's not moving, he's not speaking to anyone... That's what that little AI's stunt did to him. Are you proud of yourself, Jack?" Lucas grabbed my ear and twisted it. My other knee fell to the ground. "Are ya?" I shook me head, holding back tears. My eyes still stung, I was certain crying would only worsen the pain. Everyone around me laughed. More people were gathering. There were conversations amongst them, all of which seemed to cause more joy. "And you haven't even seen Yit and Parren yet, they'll be delighted to see you!"

    My tears were beginning to show. "Yit and Parren are here?!" I tried to weave my way out of Lucas's and the woman's grips, but I wasn't able to. "Let me go, let me go!" I yelled. I can't see Yit or Parren; they're some of Ollos's closest friends. God, I put him into his depression, I killed half the people on that island... Oh my god, I can't see Yit and Parren.

    "What are you talking about?!" Lucas smiled. "Yit's been asking to see you ever since that Yakon whisked you away. I'm sure he'd love the company; Parren can get ever so boring when there's not something to chop up!" There was more laughter, but I only screamed. They were dragging me away now. The strain in my forehead was making my gash bleed heavily. Blood was falling into my right eye, my mouth, all over.

    I was so happy with Yakon. Now I had no idea if he was alive. How quickly things can change...

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