Major NoobOvomorphMember0 XPJun-17-2013 10:44 PM
The creatures that stalked the shores of the Eitr Sea were like none they'd seen, mobile engines of death that walked the black atom edged crystals of the beach without consequence, whereas the Engineers had no armor that would protect them from its penetration.
The first landing was a massacre, all who left the ship reduced to ribbons of tissue and slices of bone. One Beast and the planet's surface were all it took to destroy 9 of the most formidable beings in the galaxy. Too, this was one of the few landing sites relatively devoid of hostile Bioforms. Most of this planet is landscaped with living tissue so deranged there could be no possibility of survival, bacterial forms from a thousand cosmic sources praised by the Eitr into a constant riot of genetic mutations, eating themselves.
The Sea did not hesitate to have its way with the Engineer's remains, fantastic Bioforms in a near perpetual cycle of evisceration and reformation.
This aroused the interest of the SJ, who then mandated a seizure of the Beast, and samples of the Eitr Sea.
The second landing brought some success, but also the attention of the beings that dwelt there far below, intelligences even the SJ would do well to fear. Great slow minds so godlike they have no gods of their own.
They knew, because the Sea knew, that these crafty beings were mere agents of some higher authority. Their location was easily divined, the Eitr Sea is the finest computer in the universe, now informed by the memories of 9 Engineers.
No need to follow. The Beast, like all its kind, has an extruded cranium. Combined with foreign biomatter, the contents of its incredibe head becomes Eitr, custom made to mutate prey into more of itself.
There had been other visitations, all fatal to the visitors. But never had they been robbed. The Engineers departed with a Guardian in their custody, contained in a blue bubble of excited dark matter. They also departed with an enemy like no other.
They never captured samples of the Sea, but learned to distill it from the spores of the Beast's victims, and initiated a growing program to perpetuate the cycle, small mute replicas of the Engineers, fed one by one to the Beast and its highly variable young.
The miracle blood of their inventory slowly revealed its true nature, and the newly superstitious Engineers understood they were in the presence of the Great Creator. They divined one true purpose for the Fluid. To generate influential matter, and alter destiny. Freedom.
But with only the bloodline of the Beast, the results were often dire.
With this their Masters were, of course, delighted.
The Raijin hangs like a well endowed sarcophagus in orbit 40 kilometers above LV223. Her crew has been reduced from 20 to 7. Her communications have been demolished by a great black Demon, now scuttling away from the site of its impact after a 10 kilometer fall.
Back to the Dome, where it will dwell for centuries
6 Agents and the Synthetic pop from their deflated shock webs. A monstrous vacuum sound cycles down to a bone rattling hum, and various alarms are disabled by hand.
All eyes come to rest on the Synthetic. He rises, turns smartly and exits via the main corridor. The 6 survivors follow.
To a one they unsnap their sidearms. The Synthetic, 5 meters ahead, stops and turns.
All motion in the corridor ceases. The Synthetic has a gun in each hand, 9mm carbon shrouded hammerless automatics, Teflon coated armor piercing ammo, 15 rounds each. Only the Synthetic is allowed these firearms, drawn so quick his fellows blink. The bullets will penetrate their suits at close range, in this ones hands no doubt with surgical precision. His eyes tick from one Agent's to the next.
This android has its nerve. There was no contingency for this outcome. Now look. Each Agent, 2 European and 4 Japanese, stands mute, guns at their sides. There's no wisdom trying to out shoot this thing. No point trying to outsmart it. They are 39 light years from home. Communications lost. Orbiting a demonic tomb. At the mercy of a Yutani Android. This is like no mission, ever. In the end, all there is to do is follow.
The Synthetic pads into Triage, and is met with an empty shock bed. All 6 Agents follow, eyes left and right. The Pilot is gone. Corrosive stains have sunk into the pads in odd yellow patterns. Still smoking. The Pilot's suit lays half off the bed, shredded and partially liquified. Welded to the padding. Helmet, intact, on the floor.
All fourteen restraints have been torn loose from their weakest point, where they fasten to the bed. This thing could restrain an elephant, so they were told, and was built big enough to hold one. Just in case.
Hard to understand what's happening, here.
Only the Synthetic looks up. Eyes only. Briefly. His eyes do not waver like a human's. His expression does not change.
The Agents encircle the bed, sidearms out. When all are in the chamber, the Synthetic extends his right arm, gun in hand, and taps a touchpad embedded in the wall. The door slides thickly down and thunks into its well.
One Agent looks up, and barks his fright.
There, attached to the ceiling like a horrible arachnid, is the Pilot.
Four identical limbs some 2 meters in length radiate from a grey, quivering cephalothorax, each baroquely muscled arm terminating in a long fingered hand clasped to the various white booms and conduit like a vile growth amongst the sterile finery. Dripping. It has no head.
The Agents stare as one in disbelief. The whole thing seems to be in the grip of some kind of seizure, its breath pulsed in ragged gasps via a constellation of holes. The Synthetic reminds them not to discharge their weapons in measured Japanese.
The Agents draw on the Synthetic and demand it open the door. The Synthetic raises both pistols. The Pilot releases three hands and dangles from one, strange long limbs arching through the air blossoming unreal fingers like wet spider legs catching the light, hot to fasten onto something soft. The Agents jump back.
It's middle is elongating, inexplicably.
Now having some understanding of the corrosive nature of these Bioforms, they do not fire. Their control is remarkable, given the cir***stances. Not one of them wishes to be sucked into space through a tiny hole. Their heart beats are near audible. Trapped.
The Pilot snatches one Agent with 3 hands, shoulder, ribcage, groin. In a flash the Agent is airborne, drawn headfirst up into the strange mass of the Pilots body, where a wound parts the surface with merciless languor. Pores appear on the lips and curved thorns, bone white, emerge from them like cats claws, sheathed in transparent matter that runs like flaccid Jello.
The Agent whimpers like a whipped dog. The thorns curve around his noisy head, panicked Japanese ringing through the room, and slide past his eyes, entering his mouth, puncturing his neck. He shrieks, caustic drool causing him to smoke and choke. The thorns curve inward and his head disappears into the maw, the Demon's fingers punching through the impenetrable shell of his suit. Blood everywhere. The lips close over his head. He discharges his firearm, hot flashes in the cold room. The nearest Agent's jaw vaporizes, a bit of tooth partially blinding yet another. Slugs nearly down two other Agents, who flinch in rubbery startlement but they're not dead, sparks flying through plasticy smoke as the conduit tears loose from above and the lights go out.
Various cries and oaths leap out in the dark, drowned by alarms and the hiss of fire extinguishers in the ceiling, bathing the room in Co2.
The 3 left unmaimed fire up into the silhouetted torso of their fellow, the room jumping with hard flashes and THKTHKTHKTHKTHK the Synthetic takes them all out, five neat bullets. No Other Option. Their bodies vanish in a hissing cloud of white.
The Pilot, unharmed, hangs from the ceiling with the Agent dangling like some great dead loop of bowel. It drops to the floor and crouches, barely visible in the mist, the Agent hanging from its maw by the neck. The maw closes and slices through his vertebrae with a sound like an apple being bitten. It spits, and the Agents mauled head flies out of the cloud and lands at the feet of the Synthetic. Ventilation winds up and sucks the air clean. The door opens. Yellow light from the corridor angles in, revealing the Pilot crouched in a pool of blood.
The Synthetic stands aside as it ambulates past and down the hall, an industry of limbs. Odd blood tracks trace its path. To the bridge.
The Synthetic watches it go, then moves quickly the other direction.
A ridiculously solid door slides up into its nacelle, and motion sensing lamps reveal a large spherical chamber padded to withstand a tornado. At its center is Meredith Vickers, stripped to her essentials and bound in a pink packing web made for cadavers. The Synthetic enters, and examines her. Tight webbing bites gently into her body mass, bulging at the binds in spite of her near total lack of body fat. Cutting the muscle.
The Bridge is throbbing with terrible energies barely held in check. The Raijin is a quasi military vehicle, not a limousine. it doesn't waste resources on things like noise suppression.
The command seat lies empty, bathed in color from the holographic array before it. Just underneath the hum a busy clicking is audible, getting louder. Two improbable arms, thin and grey, appear from behind the seat, fingers sinking into the pads. Two more follow.
The Synthetic regards Vickers impassively, seemingly hypnotized by her respiration, Vickers responding with nothing less than total unconsciousness. She is bound at one of many large loops fixed at hexagonal points around room. Her suit and helmet lie in a pile near the door.
The Synthetic produces a small lozenge and crushes it between his thumb and forefinger, and a small drop lands on Vicker's upper lip, drenching the fine hairs, ringing her nostril. It evaporates, and her bloodshot eyes snap open.
The Synthetic wastes no time.
" Where is Peter Weyland. "
As if in answer Vickers heaves, and clear matter drips from her chin. A bubble bursts as she says: "Dead ".
"On the ship."
"No. The one. Outside. Lying down."
One of the dead in the BioCraft was Peter Weyland.
The Synthetic wants to go back, but knows other priorities are shaping their fate. As if to confirm this, the Raijin powers up, a hoarse drone rubbing the air. His response:
" Did you kill him? "
" No. Why. Would I."
" Only death will cure a fool, Meredith Vickers."
She seems intimidated by this statement. The Synthetic changes the subject:
" We are now in orbit. Do you know our destination? "
" No. "
This one has no understanding of its fate. But the Synthetic has an idea. He shifts his line of inquiry: " There is a substance, one that alters destiny. "
" You mean. The Black ****."
" It can't go back. Not even to the Rim..."
" That is not our destination. " He pinches the web, and it contracts to a pink blob under Vicker's tailbone. She sits up, shaking, the blob nestled between her glutes, livid stripes in her flesh from the web.The Synthetic fixes her with terrible depths of optic scrutiny.
" I must take you to Cryo. Now. "
The command seat on the bridge bears an occupant that seems nothing but limbs.
The Pilot is a curious thing to see. Like a mad pianist it manipulates the holographic array of the Raijin's Interface in oddly classic form with three limbs, while the fourth forms a sort of brace in the Command seat.
The edge of LV223 vanishes from the banked holographic displays as the Raijin pirouettes in orbit, settling on a very foreign star scape. The Pilot seems to stare, but the effect is somewhat contradicted by its lack of eyes. It's cephalothorax has elongated obscenely, but seems to have stopped growing. This last bit of evolution is what distinguishes its kind. A sort of gland.
A countdown appears on various monitors along with admonitions in Japanese. The shock web inflates suddenly around the Pilot, pinning it awkwardly to the seat. It does not resist.
The Raijins thrusters fire, and it slowly becomes another star.