Thursday, 23 October 2014
She ran through the darkened corridors, her mind focussing on the bundle in her arms. Around her other corridors branched off, the hot and slightly misty conditions making the walls look more like grotesque gothic sculptured nightmares. Every now and then she would stop and listen to the bundle, which she cradled like a child even though it was wrapped in her habit. The multi-faceted eyes of the hive workers watched her and those who followed with interest and kept back, giving them room. As she stopped at another junction, with three corridors leading down one of those behind her pulled her and spun her around. As if in a dream she watched her, the frantic look on her face and the pointing, her mouth opening and closing, the eyes judging. But all she could hear was the singing and cradled the bundle and ran down another corridor, always deeper. Lights flashed behind her, but she ran onwards, her burden all important to her. As she waited at another junction she looked up, three workers were standing, blocking a corridor. They seemed to be looking at her bundle, their antenna quivering, then they started singing to her as well. She looked at them and smiled, not seeing the shape of the warrior peeling it'self from the wall ahead.....
The sound of the automatic rifle behind her seemed to snap her out of her dream. The squeals of the warrior as it was blown apart, and more sounds of firing behind her turned her around. For the first time she seemed to look around. The oppressive heat made her gasp and looking at the workers she could hear their clicking conversations between them and see them longing for her bundle.
"No... it's mine...."
"By the blessed virgins, now you come to your senses? Damn you Stella, what are we doing down here?"
Stella looked over at the other nun, and the others who were backing down towards them.
"I hope there is a way out down here as it's wall to wall back there. Stella, Kaitlin, tell us there is a way out!"
"Where.... are we?"
"Stella's lost it, are we getting any signal from the APC? Or the ship?"
One of the nuns shouldered her rifle and pulled out a small box, shining a light on it's surface.
"No signal, we're being jammed or too far underground. What are we doing down here? I said we should have taken one of the tunnels leading upwards. Stella?"
Kaitlin slapped Stella's face and shook her shoulders.
"Stella, snap out of it! We need you to get us out of here!"
An explosion above them in the corridor made them all raise their weapons and watch. Another nun ran around the corner, firing wildly behind her.
"Imelda, what's the situation?"
"We're fucked! Whatever the hell Stella stole it's got them freaking mad!"
She turned the weapon around, rolling the ciger in her mouth from one side to the other and shot the three workers at range, then walked over and finished them.
"Now they can't see us for a few moments until they get more workers or drones or whatever here. Stella, what is in that package you stole?"
They all turned to Stella as she unravelled the loose folds of her cloak and revealed her bundle.
"That was so stupid....."
"True One protect us...."
"Stella! Get rid of it for fuck sake!"
Stella ran a hand over the hive egg and whispered to it before looking up.
"But it sang to me.... it sang such a song...."
"Of course it fucking sang to you, they're telepathic and you're bloody pathetic! I told the Sister Superior we needed a damn Inquisitor not an empath!"
"She wouldn't harm me.... she said so...."
"And led you on a merry chase down here into the bowels of hell. If we get out of here you won't have to worry about what Carm will do becaus she won't stop Pyros from roasting your ass! Chantelle, Felicitya... scout the corridors. Imelda, if anything comes down that ramp shoot it. Where is Tiff?"
"Dead... and so is Aisha and Tee-bo. I don't know where the twins are, but if they are behind us, they are dead because there were warriors and something big behind them."
Stella hugged the egg, feeling the creature inside move.
"It's okay, we'll be home soon...."
It took Kaitlin a moment to realise Stella was talking to the egg. She raised her pistol and aimed it at her friends head.
"Sister Stella, for the crime of heresy and putting an alien brood above your Sisters I condem you to death. May god have mercy on your soul....."
Stella looked up at her friend, seeing the grim determination on her face. She knew what was coming, it had told her so but she was helpless to stop it, only able to turn her head. The warrior leapt from it's niche and slammed into Kaitlin, sending her pistol flying. With a scream it opened it's mouth and ripped out the back of her neck with it's powerful jaws. Imelda was firing up the corridor as the seething mass coming towards them, the nightmare wall of shiny black warriors, all scrambling to get at her. Chantelle ran from the corridor she was scouting, her sword in her hands and sliced the warrior eating Kaitlin, cutting through half of it's head and torso. She pushed Stella down the corridor that Felicitya was scouting.
"Imelda, we're leaving!"
Stella closed her eyes as she was dragged down, seeing not through her eyes, but the eyes of the warriors. Dozens of images of Imelda, all shifting as they moved or died, getting closer and closer until there was just red. She felt Imeldas death scream, saw it through the eyes of the warriors that dismembered her. And still she thought to the egg, don't worry... all will be well.
Felicitya looked up at the wall with despair. This tunnel as well was a dead end, but the wall was fresh. Resin was still drying and she took her rifle and started smashing at it. She wailed as she hammered at it, dropping her rifle and hammering on it with her fists. Chantelle and Stella appeared out of the gloom and startled her.
"Dead end.... Stella.... so help me...."
Felicitya pointed and screamed. The end of the corridor was filled with warriors. They were still, just standing there watching, she grabbed her rifle and checked the load, almost empty. Her pistol had one last shot. Chantelle checked her pistol, it was empty, but her sword was unbroken.
"Stella, check your weapons."
"I don't need them.... "
"Felicitya, if they come..."
"I know, the final benediction. Great saints I had hoped it wouldn't come to this..."
"I dont think any of us knew Stella would steal a fucking hive egg. Must be something special about it...."
The wall of warriors parted slowly and a man walked towards them and stopped. It was so surreal that Chantelle simply shook her head.
"Who... the hell... are you?"
"We are the voice of the Hexamon."
The man stood stock still and looked at them, his voice when he talked was heavy and ponderous, his eyes almost glowed with a pale blue light.
"We are most upset. We gave you access to us so you could further understand us. We believed you were different. We believed the one known as Stella would understand and instead she stole from us."
"No, by the moons you are a human! How can you side with them?"
"We are the voice of the Hexamon. We were hatched to talk with you as one of you. We are Hexamon."
"I should shoot you now!"
"We would hatch a new voice. We would not be inconvenienced by the death of a drone."
Chantelle levelled her sword at the egg Stella was crooning over. The warriors seemed to lurch then stop at what seemed an invisble barrier.
"But you would be by this egg?"
"You must not. We value life."
"Your own? Or ours?"
"All life is sacred. Give us the egg. Or we will be forced to take it."
"Let us out of here and you can have the egg back."
"No. We must have the egg. We will not negotiate."
"Then I curse you and this egg in the name of the True One!"
She brought her sword up and swung it down. Stella screamed and pushed her body in the way, the blade cutting deep into her. As Stella lay dying, she heard the egg singing to her again and she smiled. She smiled while Chantelle and Felicitya were torn apart. The man turned her face towards him, the blood on his hand bright against his light skin.
"Even when faced with certain death you still fight. We are much interested in this. Maybe we will keep you alive and learn your secrets."
An animal scream was heard from behind them as a larger creature was walking forwards, pushing through the warriors.
"On the other hand, we think keeping you alive is far too....."
A large warrior, much larger reached down and picked her up, holding her up and looking at her. As the great maw opened up she realised this must be a queen.... maybe even the mother of the egg.... and still it sang to her, but now a sad song. The queen lunged. Such a.....
Stella sat up in bed and screamed, rolling herself in the thin blanket and shaking. Around her in the dormitory other sisters were sleeping and snoring. A few woke up and told her to get back to sleep. She curled up in a ball and rocked herself slowly. Another dream, like the last. But this one was so vivid, so real. Taking her pad she wrote down everything she could rememeber and placed it back under her pillow. It took what seemed like an eternity to fall back to sleep and seemed like only seconds before the great bell was rung and the sisters began waking.
As she walked barefoot to perform her ablutions her friend walked with her. Felicitya, a Sister like Stella in the Abbey of the Holy Sepulchre had joined up with her, both of them running away from the farming community to become somethign more.
"Stella, are you allright? You woke up screaming again."
"I'm fine Fel, it' was a bad dream. A very bad dream."
"Ooh Stella... it can't be all that bad. Come on... last one to the showers has to say evensong!"
All through the morning, through breakfast, prayers and study she was distracted. Eventually one of the elder sisters pulled her aside and spoke with her.
"Sister, what is wrong with you today. You look pale as snow and shaking like a leaf. More bad dreams?"
"Yes, I don't want to....."
"Say no more. Stella, you have been summoned. By the mother superior."
"She's here? I thought....."
"She came back this morning. And she is waiting for you in her office. Asked for you by name, and your friend Felicitya. I hope you havn't been misbehaving?"
"Oh no Sister. I'm sure it's nothing. Maybe she can help me? I don't want to be classed as a heretic for my dreams."
"Have faith in the True One my dear and remember he can see all. Be true to yourself and you shall have no fear."
Stella smiled and nodded and made her way to the Mother Superiors office.
Carmilla was sitting reading a report when the door was knocked on softly.
She looked up and saw the two nuns before her. Stella, tall and nervous. Felicitya looking around in awe at the room. So, this was Stella. I wonder....
"You, Sister Felicitya, what am I feeling at this moment in time?"
"I do not know, Mother. I could guess, but I might be wrong."
"You are feeling curious and inquisitive."
"Very good. How do you know? Not a guess I hope?"
"No Sister, I just have... I just know how people feel. I can tell if they are happy or sad, honest or dishonest, lying or telling the truth. I just assumed it was a gift of the True One."
"Sooo, you think that you have been singled out by our Lord do you?"
Stella went quiet, and quite pale.
"I didn't mean.... "
"I know. I am teasing you. Please, come sit down. I have need for you to lead an expedition for me."
They both sat down.
"An expedition, but we are both untrained in the outside world. We know only of what is in the Abbey."
"Well now you are getting ready to go outside. And off planet. But first... tell me of your dreams. I hear that you have vivid dreams."
For the next hour Stella retold every dream she had, leaving the dream of the hive egg till last. Carmilla nodded and took notes.
"So did you get the impression that you could feel what the egg was feeling?"
"Yes, and it could feel me. I guess it was singing to me to keep me calm."
"Good. Now then, I will arrange for eight more sisters to accompany you."
"Where are we goign?"
"Later. You don't need to know straight away."
"As you wish."
They followed the Mother Superior through cloisters and corridors until they reached a large courtyard by the starport. Several nuns were sitting paitently by a large armoured personnel carrier. One of the nuns was spray painting a logo on the side, a plume of some coming from a cigar that was clenched in her teeth.
"Imelda...." Stella blurted out then walked over to the others,"And Kaitlin, Nikita.. Jasmine... Tiff... Aisha... Teebo.... and Chantelle...."
Imelda blew a smoke ring and droped the spray gun on a crate.
"Well, someone read her mission briefing..."
"There was a briefing? Why wasn't I told...."
"You were, you were asleep...."
"Yeah but I'm not in the briefing...."
"Is there a briefing? And why is she shaking?"
"Sisters, this is Stella. She will be the leader on this expedition. I need you all to keep her safe, and out of trouble."
"So where are we going? It wasn't in the briefing...."
Stella turned to Carmilla, eyes wide open.
"Rahm.... Rahm Prime... "
They all looked at Stella, who was shaking and white. Felicitya held her close and looked disaprovingly at Carmilla before remembering her place and lowering her head.
"You are the new diplomatic envoys to the Hexamon. Rahm Prime on Mobile Bay is where you are heading to talk to the Hexamon."
"Religion... trade.... anything that comes to mind. As long as you talk about Religion. Find out of they have one. And keep her safe. We don't want to start a diplomatic incident now... do we?"
Log updated by Fall From Grace